Last updated: 08/09/2016

Quinoa: An ancient crop to contribute to world food security

United Nations have declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. Quinoa is a grain originating from the Andean Regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It was next to the potato a staple food of Pre-Columbian Andean civilizations. Already and the Incas named it 'mother of all grains'. The Andean people have maintained their knowledge on quinoa and preserved this invaluable crop for thousands of years.

With its composition quinoa offers today a solid nutrient alternative to countries facing food insecurity. Indeed quinoa is the only gluten-free crop that has all essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins needed by the human body. It is a rich source for proteins, dietary fibers, as well as magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

Furthermore, quinoa has a remarkable adaptability to different agro-ecological conditions while it produces acceptable yields. There are more than three thousand varieties or ecotypes of quinoa both in cultivation and in the wild.

Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are the main quinoa producers. Quinoa is typically harvested manually by small-scale farmers and their associations. The International Year of Quinoa contributes to improving knowledge and dissemination of this ancient crop, which has a significant strategic value for the food and nutritional security of humanity.

On 20 February 2013, FAO launches the International Year of Quinoa and acts as its Secretariat. Bolivia presides The International Committee of the International Year of Quinoa. Ecuador, Peru, Chile share the vice presidency. Argentina and France act as rapporteurs. As Secretariat FAO assists the International Committee of the International Year of Quinoa to coordinate worldwide celebrations.

For more information please visit:

You can follow our worldwide celebrations by connecting to: