City of Juliaca launches quinoa consumption campaign to tackle malnutrition

The highland city of Juliaca and local schools launched a campaign this week, aimed to increase children’s consumption of quinoa – a grain-like seed crop – in a concerted effort to tackle malnutrition in the region.

“Nowadays we export quinoa to North America, Japan, Germany, while we are negligent about domestic nutrition,” said the Director of the San Román Agrarian Agency, Juan José Álvarez Delgado.

“There is malnutrition because we are not eating enough quinoa,” he added in comments to Puno’s daily newspaper Los Andes. He urged parents to incorporate more of the high-protein crop in their children’s daily meals.

Of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations – being secondary only to the potato – quinoa has today become highly appreciated for its nutritional value.

Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium, iron and protein. And, because it is gluten-free and easy to digest, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

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