The United Nations declared “2013 International Year of the quinoa.”
What is quinoa ?
Quinoa originates from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where it was successfully domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption. The role of the autochtonous populations in the Andes has to be emphasized. They maintained the culture of quinao and their numerous varieties to nowadays and they used quinoa as an important food element since ancient times and developped gastronomy around the quinoa.
However, the grain was carefully guarded by these peoples and today it is an invaluable legacy for humanity, due to its unique characteristics: quinoa is the only vegetal food that has all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins while being gluten free.
It can grow under the harshest conditions, withstanding temperatures from -8 ° C to 38 ° C, it can be grown from sea level up to 4000 meters above sea level and it can withstand drought and poor soils.
The main producers are Perou, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Quinoa and its contribution to food security and world’s population growth.
Faced with the challenge of increasing the production of quality food to feed the world’s population in the context of climate change, quinoa offers itself an alternative for those countries suffering from food insecurity. Quinoa also contributes to poverty reduction in the Andes.
The United Nations General Assembly has therefore declared 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa”, in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have managed to preserve quinoa in its natural state as food for present and future generations, through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and specifically its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, will serve as the Secretariat of the International Year of Quinoa, assisting the International Committee to coordinate the celebrations. Bolivia has the presidency of the Committee, while Ecuador, Peru and Chile share the vice presidency, with the rapporteurship in the hands o Argentina and France.
The international year has four main goals
- Increase the visibility of the great potential of quinoa to contribute to global food security, especially in countries where the population has no access to other protein sources or where production conditions are limiting.
- Prepare technical and policy frameworks for the conservation and sustainable use of quinoa diversity worldwide.
- Recognize and value the contribution of the indigenous peoples of the Andes as custodians of quinoa who conservethis food for present and future generations.
- Improve international cooperation and partnerships between public, private and non-governmental organizations related to the cultivation of quinoa.
- Appreciate the importance of developing sustainable production systems for quinoa for consumption and food security.