2013 ‘International Year of Quinoa’ Will It Reduce World Poverty?

Quinoa farmed on the Bolivian antiplano ranges in colour from white to pink to orange. Photo: Claudio Guzmán/FAO

Quinoa farmed on the Bolivian antiplano ranges in colour from white to pink to orange. Photo: Claudio Guzmán/FAO

The United Nations and the Andean cultures declared 20 February 2013 The ‘International Year of Quinoa” now if you have never heard of Quinoa before heres a short history lesson in this “extraordinary” superfood.

Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins, but does not contain any gluten. It has been around for thousands of years usually harvested by hand, rarely by machine. For all these years quinoa has been an important staple in the Andean cultures where the plant is indigenous but relatively obscure in the rest of the world. However, quinoa has become increasingly popular in the United States, Europe, China and Japan where the crop is not typically grown, tripling the value from 2006-2013.

In 2011, the average crop value of quinoa was $3,115 USD per ton with some varieties selling as high as $8000 per ton. Compare this to wheat being the third most-produced cereal after maize with its prices averaging $340 per ton.

Quinoa is widely adaptable, thriving in temperatures ranging from -8 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius, at sea level all the way up to 4,000 meters above, and is not impacted by low moisture. The versatility of quinoa makes it a viable food source for areas with low water levels for farming conditions and high malnutrition rates.

Bolivia and Peru account for more than half of the annual 70,000 tons of quinoa produced, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

With over 850 million people going hungry each day, according to the (FAO) reducing world hunger by at least half, is the first of eight anti-poverty goals set by Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose target date is 2015.

Producing more quinoa today, may help feed, strengthen and empower more families, in the most remote areas of the world to help end poverty.

How can we use quinoa in our meals?

Well with quinoa being widely adaptable in many growing conditions, it can be a very versatile ingredient to our everyday meals. Quinoa can be used instead of rice and pasta also in salads (warm or cold), stews and even desserts from chocolate bars to home made recipes, this recipe you have to try but this superfood can also be found in Vodka check it out HERE.

Taking all of the positives in to account regarded with quinoa, helping reduce poverty will be a fantastic achievement for everyone involved.

But will this slow start to destroying the lives of the farmers producing this “extraordinary” superfood?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.