Distribution and production

Quinoa is endemic in all countries of the Andean region, ranging from Colombia (Pasto) to northern Argentina (Jujuy and Salta) and southern Chile.

FAOSTAT reports that, in the period 1992–2010, the cultivated area and total production of quinoa in the main producer countries of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador almost doubled and tripled respectively.

There are no precise official figures in Argentina or Chile for quinoa cultivated area and production. However, production is known to be concentrated in the province of Jujuy in Argentina and in the northern highlands of Chile, although it is in southern central Chile that are found the sea level varieties that are important for the expansion of quinoa to other parts of the world because they are sensitive to photoperiodism.

Quinoa cultivation is nevertheless spreading as it now occurs in more than 70 countries. In 2002,  80,000 hectares were recorded to be under quinoa cultivation, mainly in the Andean region. The world’s main producers are Bolivia, Peru and the United States. However, the main quinoa producing countries in the Andean region and the world are Peru and Bolivia. In 2008, these two countries accounted for 92% of quinoa produced in the world. These are followed by the United States, Ecuador, Argentina and Canada which represent about 8% of global production. In recent years (2009), production in the Andean region amounted to approximately 70,000 tonnes.

Quinoa cultivation has crossed continental boundaries to reach France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy. In the United States it is grown in Colorado and Nevada, and in Canada on the grasslands of Ontario. High seed yields have been recorded in Kenya (4 t/ha) and the crop can be successfully grown with high yields in the Himalayas and the plains of northern India.