Got Quinoa Milk? New products spur farmers’ efforts to save Peruvian grains
- Impact Area
In quinoa’s ancestral homeland, farmers are revitalizing production of threatened varieties with small business partnerships and the support of local government. Our researchers report back with images from a field day in the Puno Region.
On a crisp spring morning, approximately 100 farmers wait at the mountainous town of Huataquita. They have gathered from villages across the region of Puno to share their experiences with government representatives, including the new Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation. With dancing, food-sharing, and presentations, the field day spotlights “Quinoa Diversity as a Niche Market Alternative”, as farmers and researchers explore new ways of conserving traditional varieties of this super grain.
The star of the day is Chullpi Anaranjada, a traditional variety that, just several years ago, researchers warned might completely disappear from farmers’ fields. Its turnaround came in 2017 when the community of Huataquita and agricultural Cooperative Copaiseg organized an agreement with a private sector start-up, Muyu Milq (previously KaiPacha Foods): The farmers cultivate Chullpi Anaranjada, and Muyu Milq turns their harvest into quinoa milk – a niche product made even more unique by the variety’s orange color, and larger grain size which improves texture. The scale of the resulting production has since grown to the extent that, with 23 hectares cultivated for an estimated 20 tons of production in 2021, Peru’s Ministry of Environment declared that the variety is no longer at risk.