Name of Product: Amaranto negro
Scientific Name: Amaranthus caudatus
Product Type: Cereals
MP Region: South America
Country of origin: Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
Name of the Mountain Area: Chuquisaca district, Cordillera Real
Narrative label: Rich in iron, calcium and protein, black amaranth is a native Bolivian variety that is cultivated at 2 800 meters above sea level in only 3 municipalities of the Chuquisaca Department. Black amaranth, called ‘Quimy’ in the local language is a vital part of the ancient culture in this area and was in the past only cultivated and preserved by a few families for personal use. Recently, the community has devoted specific attention to promoting black amaranth in order to ensure that this native crop is not displaced by other inferior varieties.

Black amaranth is one of the earliest domesticated crops worldwide. However, today only a few of the 60-70 amaranth species are cultivated. Black amaranth is the rarest variety of amaranth and grows in fields located at 1 800 – 2 800 meters above sea level, with temperatures ranging from -15 to 19°C in Chuquisaca - Bolivia’s leading producer of amaranth. In spite of its higher nutritional properties and its high resistance to diseases, pests and droughts, local varieties like the black amaranth have been replaced by more productive species in Bolivia.

Today only 200-300 producers cultivate a few hectars in Sopachuy, El Villar and Alcalá, as the area is heavily affected by climate change. The late start of the rainy season postpones sowing, sudden periods of drought prevent the regular germination of the plants and persistent rain and localized presence of hailstorms make growth difficult.

Traditionally black amaranth is used for api (a drink made from toasted amaranth, sugar and hot milk), bread, soups and stews (masa morra). Now there is an increased commercial interest in processed products like muesli, cookies and energy bars.

After being manually harvested, amaranth panicles are put into jute bags when ripe and brought into canvas tents where they dry for 3- 4 days. The cleaning process is traditionally done by hitting the cobs with wooden sticks to separate the grain from the cob. When stored in a cold place, amaranth can last up to three years.
Producer: 24 Families in Sopachuy, El Villar, Alcalá and Padilla
Contact person: Antonio Aramayo, Fundación Pasos, [email protected]
Labelled since: 16.05.2017
Label latest verification: 16.05.2017
Type of producer: Cooperative, Community
Smallholder: yes
Size of company: 21-50 people
Distribution channel: Local market
At risk of disappearing: Yes. Black Amaranth is heavily under threat by being almost completely replaced by more productive non-native varieties.
Traditional product/production: Yes, it is a traditional product that is heavily under threat, having been almost completely replaced by more productive non-native varieties.
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