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The Sustainability of the Cultivation of Quinua
in Peru-Approximations After the International
Year of the Quinoa (AIQ)
Rember Pinedo Taco* and Luz Gómez Pando
Departamento de Fitotecnia, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Perú
Submission: June 28, 2019; Published: July 22, 2019
*Corresponding author: Rember Pinedo Taco, Departamento de Fitotecnia, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Perú
How to cite this article: Rember Pinedo Taco, Luz Gómez Pando. The Sustainability of the Cultivation of Quinua in Peru-Approximations After the
International Year of the Quinoa (Aiq). JOJ Wildl Biodivers. 2019: 1(3): 555561. 10.19080/JOJWB.2019.01.555561
Keywords: Family agriculture, genetic resources, comparative and competitive advantages, sustainabilit
Thanks to the enormous publicity and diffusion of the AIQ, carried out at global level led by the governments of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and France (Group of countries of the International Committee of the AIQ), the world has known quinoa, as a food of high nutritional value and with nutritional and medicinal properties that could contribute to improve food security in developing countries, promoting its cultivation that is highly adaptable to most of the climatic conditions of the orb. This generated a high demand for the product and, consequently, increased the prices of quinoa, generating temporary profits for the producers.
The question is, what is the situation of producers of family farming systems? After a stage of economic prosperity, after the AIQ, they have returned to the reality of a policy that protects neither prices nor genetic resources. Currently more than 70 countries are in the experimental phase and others have already started large-scale production. The losers will be the small producers who produce in conditions of high climatic, financial adversity and state lack of protection. The countries of South America and specifically Peru, must now face the global competition of highly technician and industrialized countries that easily based on improvements and even genetic manipulation of quinoa can exceed the average productivity of the original countries.
The consequences can be irreversible due to the uncontrolled exit of genetic material. In Peru, the lack of national policies for the protection of genetic resources is evident; For example, Puno,
which is the largest quinoa producing area in the country to date,
could not achieve the denomination of origin, or Plant Breeders’ Certificates (COV). On the other hand, the high genetic instability of quinoa can be a negative factor; commercial varieties registered in Peru, when they leave to another country for multiplication purposes, can be adapted by very easily changing their phenotypic characteristics and could be registered and patented as a new variety.
Despite having some natural advantages and comparative advantages, in general production is stationary, with low quality and lack of standardization of the product, individualized and small sale, limited access to markets and lack of community rural industries. However, one of the causes of the limited development of the local industry is the reduced local market, both for the grain (low levels of consumption per capita) and for the products derived and little demanding with quality and innovation. There is weak pressure from local consumers towards the supply of more and better products from the food industry, which use quinoa as an input. That is one of the causes of the limited development of that industry. Therefore, it will be essential to generate competitive advantages through forms of association, production and marketing that enable the development of differentiation factors based on research, innovation and the development of products in which quinoa is paramount for its multiple benefits. Meanwhile, the role of the State is relevant in terms of support and generation of a regulatory framework and with the promotion of public policies for the productive sector of quinoa.
The objective of this article is to analyze the impacts generated
in family farming systems of highland areas of Peru in terms of
technological innovations, management and conservation of
resources: soil, water, genetic resources and an approach to the
sustainability of production of quinoa, after AIQ 2013.
According to official MINAGRI figures (2014), the quinoa
production of 2014 was 114,000 tons, a figure that reflects a
growth of 119% compared to 2013 that reached 52,000 tons.
This increase was mainly in the regions of Arequipa (522%),
Puno (23%) and Junín (173%), based on the largest sowings
executed and, consequently, the highest yields obtained
At the regional level, on the coast in the departments of
Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ica, Tacna and Lima, the growth rate of
quinoa production was 24% per year, while in the departments
of the southern highlands (Arequipa, Apurímac, Ayacucho ,
Cusco, Moquegua and Tacna) was 18.7% annual average. In the
case of Puno, it grew at a slower pace, and its participation in
national production decreases each year .
Agriculture practiced in the high-Andean tropical zones (>
2500 masl) is based on the management of biodiversity and
different farming systems in a wide range of socio-economic
and environmental scenarios that allow the self-sustainability
of small and medium farmers in rural communities ( Fonte
and Vanek, 2010). The production area of quinoa in Ayacucho
according to Gómez and Aguilar (2014) and Tapia et al. (2014)
corresponds to the inter-Andean valley agro-ecological zone.
The production of quinoa is practiced from 2500 to 3800 masl
. At the level of the Ayacucho region in the 1992/93 season
the cultivated area was 123 ha, in 2003/04 2140 ha, increasing
to 5768 ha in the 2012/2013 season. At the provincial level,
the growth of the cultivated area in Huamanga stood out, from
244 to 2536 hectares, which represents an increase of 939% in
the last 10 agricultural seasons . According to the  in the
2014/15 campaign in Ayacucho the total area planted reached 11
115 hectares, of which 6429 have been planted in the province
of Huamanga. Currently, quinoa is planted as monoculture,
with a predominance of conventional production systems that
involve the intensive use of soils, intensification of agricultural
mechanization, indiscriminate use of synthetic fertilizers and
pesticides, use of improved varieties with predominance of white
quarries displacing the color quinoa and the local ecotypes, and
the reduction of areas of other traditional food crops .
The commercialization of the quinoa grain has three types
of market: internal regional market (district and provincial
fairs and in the departmental capital); external regional market
(production goes outside the departmental scope to supply
the demand of the national market); and finally export market
to the different countries that demand quinoa . Peruvian
quinoa is exported to the international market as conventional
and organic, being for the last five years (2010-2014) 75.4%
of conventional type, with an annual growth rate of 67%. The
annual growth rate of organic quinoa was 82%. In 2014, it was
possible to export 27,200 tons of conventional quinoa and 8,900
tons of organic quinoa (The United States is the largest importer
of Peruvian quinoa, with a tariff of 0% established for the entry
of quinoa via the TLC).
However, despite the preferences of the international market
for healthy products, the preference for organic quinoa has not
been as decisive, since in practice more conventional quinoa was
exported. This is another valid argument to analyze the possibility
of massive production of quinoa in other countries with higher
technology support (protection measures and subsidies and
financing) which could easily displace domestic production.
Perhaps it should be considered as a more favorable possibility
(less possibilities of direct competition in the production of
quinoa due to its unfavorable agro-ecological characteristics
for the production of quinoa, but, comparative advantages due
to the technological level reached in the food industry) trade
with countries like Brazil that also through the application of
the Agreement of Economic Complementation, exports have a
0% tariff like Uruguay and Paraguay. Likewise, South Africa with
which Peru is in the process of negotiating an TLC; also, Asian
and Oceanian markets who demand and prefer natural products.
Despite the immense campaign of diffusion made in favor
of the consumption of the quinoa this has not had significant
increases, according to general data provided by the MINAGRI in
2012 the annual per capita consumption was 1.20 kg / person /
year. According to IICA  in a study carried out by ADEX (2001),
it is estimated that per capita consumption at the national level is
0.52 kg / year, with the urban population registering a relatively
low consumption (according to the results of IV CENAGRO,
the main destination of the national production of quinoa per
planting But, according to the FAO-ALADI , the consumption
of quinoa estimated for 2012 in kg / person / year in Peru was
1.15 kg. area would be for self-consumption 68% of the total,
31% is destined for sale, and 1% for seed).
According to studies carried out by IICA  in the regional
area of Puno and Junín, annual per capita consumption of 3 kg
/ person / year; while Junín would reach 3.6 Kg at an urban
level and 15 Kg / person / year at rural level, which would
merit reviewing the aforementioned figures since they are quite
far from the national average provided by MINAGRI, with the
aforementioned averages at the Puno level and Junín would be
consuming an average of 9 kg / person / year. But if confirmed
these figures can be an excellent indicator of the increase of
family consumption of quinoa at rural and urban level with a
clear tendency to improve food and nutrition security .
After the IYQ, more than 70 countries have quinoa genetic
material from Peru and Bolivia, which are the two main countries
of quinoa. In countries like USA, France, Holland, England with
economic and technological support of their governments are
in the research phase and several countries in the production
Under these conditions, will farmers mainly have family
farming systems, possibilities to compete with high technology
and large industry in developed countries? Despite the natural
and comparative advantages of having a huge variability of
quinoa genes and as demonstrated, they can be adapted to almost
all life zones existing in Peru; however, under current conditions,
the producers of the altiplano and the inter-Andean valleys will
have little chance of competing with the quinoa product and
its derivatives if the developed countries begin the production
of quinoa on a large scale. Production at the coastal level and
marine Yunga would have better possibilities; However, the
limiting factor that has not yet been solved is the phytosanitary
issue (high incidence of pests obliges the indiscriminate use of
pesticides). The average yield reached in the country is 1.2 t / ha,
considering that some varieties have a productive potential of 9
t / ha, highly technician countries with protectionist agricultural
policies can reach these roofs via genetic improvement and export
quinoa with high added value and on a large scale. Possibly it will
not be news that in a few years the original countries are forced
to import quinoa [9,10].
The expansion of the demand for quinoa and its agroindustrial
derivatives in higher income countries is associated
with more general trends of changes in consumption patterns,
which increasingly favor foods that have healthy nutritional
characteristics, offer health and safety guarantees and are
associated with some special characteristics, such as the
condition of being organic products. The main risk that threatens
the growth of exports is the possible entry into production of
countries with developed technology such as the United States
of America, European countries and others whose agroclimatic
conditions are favorable.
It will be key to enhance the natural advantages and
comparative advantages of quinoa production by efficiently
taking advantage of international market opportunities,
with high quality standardization of the product. Likewise,
the generation of competitive advantages through forms of
association, production and commercialization that make viable
the development of differentiation factors based on research,
innovation and the development of products in which quinoa is
paramount for its multiple benefits. Procure the differentiation
that implies collective marks associated with knowledge and
ancestral management of quinoa cultivation in the high Andean
areas of the country.
The production of conventional quinoa on the coast intensified,
including with government support (Crop Reconversion
Program), with the idea of increasing export volumes and increasing
local consumption; however, shipments of the product
were returned for exceeding the maximum residue limits (MRLs)
of pesticides. There is a high risk of loss of market share derived
from these rejections, which affect the prestige of the Peruvian
FAO – ALADI (2014) Tendencias y perspectivas del comercio internacional de quinua documento conjunto. Santiago de Chile, Chile.
Fonte S, Vanek S (2010) Explorando Opciones Agroecológicas para el Manejo de la Fertilidad del Suelo en Sistemas de Agricultura en pequeña escala de las Zonas Altoandinas, (CIAT) Cali, Colombia.
Gómez L, Aguilar E (2014) Guía del cultivo de quinua. Programa de Investigación y Proyección Social de Cereales y Granos Nativos Facultad de Agronomía Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Perú.
Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego (MINAGRI) (2014) Dirección General de Seguimiento y Evacuación de Políticas - Dirección de Estadística Agraria, Agraria.
Tapia M, Canahua A, Ignacio S (2014) Razas de Quinua del Perú. ANPE, Perú y CONCYTEC, Lima, Perú.