Fourth World Congress on quinoa highlighted the crop’s potential in the fight against hunger
Santiago, Chile, 12 July 2013- During the Fourth World Congress on Quinoa, held in Ibarra (Ecuador) senior ministers, scientists and producers called for support to boost research and to promote the production and consumption of Quinoa.
“One of the goals is to reach the year 2014 with a production strategy for this golden grain with an emphasis on a more human approach to nutrition, to ensure food security in the fight against hunger and poverty", said Ecuador’s Minister of Agriculture, Javier Ponce during the congress.
The Bolivian Minister of Rural Development and Land, Nemesia Achacollo, called on "all experts, scientists and agronomists to work alongside producers, to plan a common strategic alliance in the fight against hunger."
During the congress, experts debated themes that included the current state of the quinoa industry, present grain production, and the crop’s nutritional values.
State-of-the art technology linked to quinoa’s genetic improvement and organic production systems to meet challenges such as soil salinity and water scarcity were also examined. Issues associated with quinoa quality and nutrition, agribusiness, markets and promotion, gastronomy and social anthropology were also discussed.
Salomón Salcedo, Technical Secretary of the International Year of Quinoa 2013 and Senior Policy Officer of FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC), added that " 2013 not only draws attention to the development of quinoa worldwide; but it also recognizes the many challenges that the modern world may face moving forward, appealing to the knowledge and tradition accumulated by ancient peoples and small farmers, who are currently its main producers. "
Aware of the key contribution made by smallholder farmers to food security and the fight against hunger, Salcedo referred to the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, declared by the UN General Assembly. The International Year will highlight the role of family farming in the provision of food, and underline the importance of maintaining rural spaces and cultures, as well as the significance of biodiversity management and poverty alleviation.
Preserving quinoa seeds
“Quinoa’s phytogenetic resources need to be collected, characterized, evaluated, studied, documented and preserved”, said Mr Salcedo, appealing to Farmers’ Rights in a workshop on the sustainable use of quinoa’s genetic resources, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during the congress.
According to FAO, such phytogenetic resources are essential in adapting to climate change and future human food needs. This theme has been developed further in a new publication launched by FAO and Bioversity entitled Descriptores para Quinua (Chenopodium Quinoa Wild.) y sus parientes silvestres (Descriptors for Quinoa and its wild relatives).
The publication is intended to increase the use and conservation of phytogenetic resources. It is also expected to contribute to studies on the analysis of genetic diversity, germplasm management, as well as defining new plant varieties and any features which may be useful for the improvement of crops and nutrition.
For more information see:
(Descriptors for Quinoa and its wild relatives)
FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC)
Karen Rodríguez: karen.rodriguez(at)fao.org, (0056 +2) 2 923 2179
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