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Fields of kaniwa, Patacama, Bolivia. (M. Tapia)

because even in the Andes the crop is not well understood, nor have its various types been fully collected and compared. Moreover, its acceptability in diets outside the Andes is uncertain.

Industrialized Regions. Kaniwa seems to have little immediate potential as a cash crop for North America, Europe, or other industrialized areas. The lack of knowledge of its productivity and mechanized cultivation would make it a risky commercial undertaking. Nonetheless, kaniwa is one of the most nutritious grains and most resilient plants known. It could perhaps prove useful as a forage crop or as a specialty grain for nutritionally conscious consumers. For instance, kaniwa could become popular among vegetarians and “health-food” consumers, as is happening with quinoa.


The seed is usually toasted and ground to form a brownish flour (kañihuaco) that is consumed with sugar or added to soups. It is also used with wheat flour in breads, cakes, and puddings. And it is made into a hot beverage, similar to hot chocolate, and sold on the streets of cities such as Cuzco and Puno.

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