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Ilave, Peru. Harvesting quinoa grain. Traveling through Colombia in the early 1800s, Alexander von Humboldt observed that quinoa was to the region what ‘'wine was to the Greeks, wheat to the Romans, cotton to the Arabs.” He was excited by the crop because at that time starvation was rampant all over the world, and he had gone to South America looking for new foods to combat it. Because of its high nutritive value, Thor Heyerdahl took quinoa grain on the raft Kon Tiki. (IAF/M. Sayago)


Industrialized Regions. In the United States, quinoa has found a market in restaurants, health food stores, and supermarkets. It sells at “gourmet prices” and in some stores is outselling wild rice. It should soon find similar demand in Europe, Japan, Australia, and other areas.

The plant's daylength requirements (for flowering) are, for now, likely to limit its successful cultivation in North America, Europe, Japan and other such industrialized areas to types that come from equivalent latitudes in the Andes (for example, from Chile). At present, these are not readily available.4 On the other hand, tall, late-maturing, daylength-sensitive types could prove productive for forages, a use for which flowering is unnecessary.

Despite this limitation, the plant has already shown some promise in tests of farm-scale cultivation in high altitudes of Colorado and at near sea level in Washington and Oregon states as well as in England and Scandinavia.


4 Most seed exported for food has been desaponized and is nonviable.


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