Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal. It is not from the Gramineae family but it receives this definition because it has a similar level of consumption. It has also recently been called “superfood” due to its high content of nutrients. This plant is native to South America and its different ecotypes are mainly found in Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru. Its main asset is the existence of some varieties adapted to different kinds of climatic and soil conditions, as FAO describes.
That’s why it is considered by the experts as one of the crops which can eradicate malnutrition. Different varieties of quinoa are being introduced with success in many African countries such as Morocco, Kenya and Mali.
We also think that this can be a good option to improve the Nguéniène rural community diet. We think that quinoa’s similarities with rice in its cooking and use can make it easy to embrace this kind of crop. At an agronomic level, we are sure we can find varieties which fit this area’s climatic and soil conditions.
During the trip we four have made recently to the field, we started with some activities related to this project. We organized gastronomic workshops at the weekly market in Nguéniène and offered traditional Senegalese dishes tasting replacing rice with quinoa. It was a good opportunity to introduce ourselves to the local population and explain them our goals and projects. The dishes we prepared were well received and gave us a great visibility at regional level.
Another action we have launched together with the local farmers is a test with quinoa varieties. Like this, we will see which of them has better results in Senegal. In this regard, three farmers have sowed little areas with each variety. During the whole growing season, they will observe their different characteristics, which will allow us to select the most proper ones.
During the following months we will get information of our tests’ results. We hope Nguéniènians will improve their diet with the quinoa sowed in their own terrain.