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QUINOA : A FUTURE SOWN THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO

Quinoa has been grown in the Andes for over 5,000 years. After centuries of neglect, the potential of quinoa was rediscovered during the second half of the twentieth century. Following the International Year of Quinoa (IYQ) in 2013, the case of quinoa was highlighted with the potential to rapidly change its status from a minor to a major crop in the world agriculture, on basis of the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and high nutritional value can play in providing global food security.

The number of countries growing quinoa has raised quickly from 10 (1980) to more than 100 (2015). The worldwide expansion of quinoa has occurred based on strong relationships among persons across many institutions and countries. The number of researchers working on quinoa is still increasing, even in regions where quinoa has never been cultivated. Nevertheless, we still face a big gap in knowledge if we want to increase the success of field trials to introduce quinoa in new environments: this is one of the main challenges after the IYQ.

In order to ensure food security and alternative income opportunities for farmers, many stakeholders are actively involved in the promotion and evaluation of quinoa cultivation inside and outside of the Andean region. Strengthening a dialogue among them will be helpful for all our communities on basis of different interests on quinoa. To be member of the GCN-quinoa is a way to participate in the debate about benefits of quinoa expansion.
Thanks to its extraordinary genetic diversity, the crop is very adaptable to different agro-ecological conditions (soils, rainfall, temperature and altitude) being able to tolerate frost, drought and salinity. To avoid the mistakes that have resulted in past, there is need for sharing results of multi-country evaluations of quinoa germplasm in order to give better assistance to farmers in a way of sustainable production of quinoa crop associated to integrated food systems. Access and benefit sharing about quinoa seeds are of importance that is why a specific forum of discussion was generated on this topic.

However many challenges compromise the promotion of public and social inclusion policies in world agriculture. All these elements justify the importance to create a collaborative space to facilitate exchanges between producers, experts, politicians and all persons involved in quinoa development to continue sharing information, in multiple languages, for the promotion and sustainable use of quinoa genetic resources.
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