The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has named 2013 “the international year of quinoa”. This ancestral grain, native to Bolivia and Peru, has been heralded as a super-food with the potential to alleviate hunger and malnutrition globally. Quinoa is rich in protein and other nutrients and, through the Andean ancestral cultivation practices, can provide nutritional and biodiversity benefits to countries looking to improve food security. Yet as international demand for quinoa grows, especially among gourmets in Canada, the US, and Europe, prices have risen, making quinoa less affordable for Peruvians and Bolivians.
Despite an overall increase in quinoa production, local consumption has decreased due to a host of factors including competition on the global expert market. This situation has generated questions about the potential for the miracle grain to aid in meeting food security goals globally, if global demand and limited production continues to present challenges to achieving food security locally.
For more insight, the publication Agenda: Suramerica, give a local perspective on this issue with their feature, “Global vs. Local Food Security: The Case of Quinoa in Bolivia.”