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The International Year of Quinoa Continues Beyond 2013

Year of QuinoaYou’ve seen it in the grocery store, on TV and maybe in your pantry — the tiny grain known as quinoa. What you probably didn’t know is this grain, which is no bigger than a pinhead, has the power to conquer a huge challenge. Quinoa could put an end to global hunger, which is why the United Nations created the International Year of Quinoa in 2013.

Quinoa is known for its efficiency in health and cost. It has an outstanding nutritional profile, low production costs, adaptability to various climates and vast genetic diversity. The U.N. went as far as declaring quinoa one of the most promising and energizing crops to humanity, due to its ability to grow in poverty-stricken and harsh climate areas.

According to the U.N. News Center, quinoa can thrive in extreme temperatures, ranging from minus 8 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius. It is not impacted by moisture and it can grow at 4,000 meters above sea level.

Due to its extreme versatility, the General Assembly honored the crop by dedicating 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. The U.N. believes the crop to be a viable option to alleviate world hunger.

The goal of the International Year of Quinoa was to raise awareness of the nutritional and economical value this crop offers. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke highly of the year of quinoa as a kick-start to reaching global poverty reduction goals.

“I hope this International Year will be a catalyst for learning about the potential of quinoa for food and nutrition security, for reducing poverty- especially among the world’s small farmers — and for environmentally sustainable agriculture,” said Ki-moon.

The Keenwa Cause also launched an effort to fight against world hunger while supporting the development of quinoa as a sustainable crop — similar to what the International Year of Quinoa hopes to promote.

The organization sells quinoa krisps, sweet granola-like snacks made from the well-known crop. For every product they sell, eatKeenwa donates resources to the hunger initiative. Every day the organization and its customers are helping feed the hungry around the world.

Quinoa’s economic advantages are rooted deeper than surface-level versatility. The nutritional power the crop offers at such a low cost is the most compelling option for poor countries looking to boost their economies. The crop contributes to improved health and food security and can also boost broken and struggling economies around the world.

Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador are the leading producers of the quinoa crop. They produce more than half of the annual global total of 70,000 tons according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. The crops’ production is beginning to expand to areas of Kenya, India, North America and Europe.

Reducing world hunger by half is one of the global targets of many economically advantaged countries. According to Ban Ki-moon, if South American countries continue to increase their production of and access to foods like the superfood quinoa, this goal will soon be reached in large strides.

Katie Grovatt

Photo: Flickr