Quinoa Side Event at FAO Conference - Summary and Outcomes

As part of the celebrations that mark the International Year of Quinoa 2013, in partnership with Italy’s Altromercato and Slow Food, FAO hosted a series of side events to promote quinoa during its 38th Conference (17 June- 21 June 2013), the two-yearly meeting of the Organization’s main governing body. Participants included FAO Permanent Representatives, staff members and civil society and private sector stakeholders.

Throughout the week various aspects of quinoa were presented and discussed followed by a daily event featuring quinoa tasting. Themes included the socio-economic impact of quinoa’s production, its excellent nutritional qualities, cultural value and contribution to biodiversity and its use as a versatile ingredient in cooking. In addition, quinoa’s great adaptability to extreme and diverse climatic conditions and its positive impact on the standard of living of local farmers were also highlighted.

As a result of these targeted discussions, some concerns also emerged. These included the low consumption of quinoa in its main producing countries due to a rapid increase in prices, issues associated with soil erosion as a consequence of the extension of cultivated land and the emergence of conflicts over land.

As we look forward beyond the International Year of Quinoa 2013, it is paramount that quinoa’s contribution to biodiversity and sustainability is preserved nationally and globally. Further investment should be made in the agro-industry in order to promote the transformation of quinoa into different products making it more readily available in urban areas. Lastly, as quinoa’s visibility increases, it should become an ‘ambassador’ for other neglected or underrated crops.

Since the side event took place, requests for further information on how to successfully develop quinoa have been received by a number of member countries. For detailed information please contact quinoa(at)fao.org


Photo Credit: ©FAO/Ada Perello

Credits: to Vittorio Leproux, Altromercato