Royal Quinoa: Unique and Sustainable

June 15, 2016

Walking into a room in Uyuni Bolivia and not feeling cold is an unusual experience. With an average June temperature below zero degrees Celsius, the air feels chilly even at massive events. Nevertheless, this 2nd of June, during the forum “Royal Quinoa: Towards a Participative Agenda in Bolivia”, a wave of warmth spread throughout the venue. It came from the beaming faces of 250 very satisfied quinoa producers.

The Royal Quinoa producers were satisfied with the achievements of the day. Fernando Peñarrieta, Vice-minister of Internal Commerce and Exportations, and Armando Sánchez, Representative of the Ministery of Rural Development and Lands, pointed out the importance of working with the Regulations for Denominations of Origin for Royal Quinoa. Such a denomination will in the near future make this product distinctive, with characteristics linked to the geographic area in which it is produced. This will also secure its commercial and brand stability.

The regulations document has come a long way. Innovare, with the support of Hivos, started its development and strategy in 2015 through a participative multi-actor process within the project: “Systems of Innovation: Quinoa-based landscapes in Bolivia”.

The need to come up with this document dates back to 2013 as a result of the crisis in Quinoa prices. That year, the product jumped to Bs 2.000/qq and then plummeted to its present price of Bs. 250/qq. There was an urgent need to create a price standard that would justify its production and normalize the local economy. Now, the product is again at the center of attention through a new Hivos platform called “Sustainable Diets”.

The project seeks to support national and international advocacy and civil society agendas within the food system so that sustainable diets become more affordable for low-income rural and urban citizens. The idea is to work on more sustainable production and put public policies into practice that promote sustainable diets and more responsible consumption in Bolivia. Then it will scale up to include other parts of Latin America over the next 5 years.

Hivos pursues a green economy where energy is mostly produced locally by individuals, where small farmers have access to large markets, where the poorest do not bear the biggest burden of climate change and where plant and animal species whose economic value is not immediately apparent, are protected. A green economy is a fair economy that has no expiry date. 

Read this news item in Spanish.

Photo: Froilan Quino / Hivos