International Congress on Quinoa, “Quino@ndo, From the Andes to Milan and from Milan to the world” –held in Milan, Italy on 30-31 October 2013

This conference was organized by the Latinoamericando Group, which has acted as a ‘cultural bridge’ between Latin America and Europe in the promotion and sharing of Latin American cultures for 25 years, and supported by FAO.

The two-day event, which included a multi-stakeholder panel with quinoa experts from various geographical regions, aimed to promote quinoa and its potential in the eradication of hunger by highlighting the crop’s ancestral history and its multiple beneficial characteristics. FAO was represented by Mr. Wilson Hugo (Agriculture Officer) who gave a presentation on Quinoa’ s impact in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

The conference tackled numerous cross-cutting themes surrounding quinoa from both scientific and cultural perspectives including:

  • Role in food security- impact in the fight against hunger and malnutrition (Mr Wilson Hugo)
  • An excellent example of sustainable agriculture - agronomic sustainability and agrobiodiversity
  • Global cultural heritage – importance of traditional knowledge, quinoa’s role as the “ golden grain” of the Andes
  • Chemical composition and nutritional qualities
  • Identification of areas suited to quinoa cultivation
  • Genetic diversity and global dissemination

Targeted presentations highlighted specific examples in various geographical regions including:

  • Sustainable production and social and environmental impact of Quinua Real in Southern Bolivia
  • Genetic improvement of quinoa cultivation in Ecuador
  • Consumption trends in Western markets
  • Biodiversity in Latin America (a proposal for Expo 2015)

In addition, quinoa was discussed in relation to diet and healthy lifestyles. Topics included:

  • Indigenous cooking - dietary culture in the Andes
  • Quinoa and coeliac disease
  • Quinoa recipes in traditional and modern cooking

 “Quino@ndo, From the Andes to Milan and from Milan to the world” was about sharing knowledge and experiences related to quinoa. This is timely in preparation for Expo 2015, which will be held in Milan and whose main theme is the concept of nutrition/ diet as the driving force of the future.  The conference underlined the important role quinoa can play in the future without ignoring its ancestral tradition. Essentially, one of the main strengths of this crop is that it sits at the pivotal junction between tradition and modernity.  

For more information on the programme and key speakers, visit the conference website (in Italian) or follow on Twitter #Quinoando.