The people of the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru have the lowest per-capita income in South America. They suffer from economic isolation and widespread malnutrition. The economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture. Quinoa, a non-cereal grain, is one of the few crops that can tolerate the severe climate and poor soils of the Andean Highlands. Quinoa is extremely high in protein and is a primary source of nutrition and income to families of the high Andes. In addition to its importance in human nutrition, quinoa is also a vital source of forage for livestock, another principle source of nutrition and income for the families of the Andean highlands.
The goal of this project is to improve food security in the Bolivian and Peruvian highlands through increased quinoa production and consumption. During the first phase, the team made important advances in many areas of research and development in Bolivia, including the molecular biology of quinoa; the characterization of quinoa biodiversity and its utilization in breeding (several new varieties of quinoa were released); pest management; and post-harvest processing and commercialization. During the project’s second phase, researchers propose to advance these research frontiers and to extend them to research organizations and farming communities in Peru.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Household-level food security will be analyzed to identify critical points that should be addressed to improve family nutrition. Upon this base, the project will establish promotion and training programs for diversification of food sources with high nutritional value, emphasizing the potential role of quinoa and other traditional Andean products.
New quinoa varieties will be developed through participatory and genetic research, based on the strategy developed during the project’s first phase.
Quinoa production will be increased by 25 percent in the region through adoption of appropriate technology and new quinoa varieties.
Producer organizations in the region will be strengthened. These organizations will be assisted in the implementation of business plans that including activities such as seed increase and distribution, through commercialization and product development for quinoa.
The diversification of quinoa consumption will be promoted by working with agro-industries to develop new quinoa products.