Quinoa seed tried in different regions
Nine varieties of quinoa seeds are under evaluation across the country.
Out of 10 targeted quinoa varieties, nine are being evaluated and adapted in Bhutan. Out of all the varieties, three varieties resulted in an excellent (100 percent) result. Two varieties have been identified for high altitude areas (>1500m) while one variety has been identified for low altitude areas.
From 2015-2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MOAF) has estimated 1,000 farmers cultivating the quinoa seeds in around 40 acres of land around the coun- try.
Quinoa is a frost-tolerant seed which can tolerate temperatures as low as -6.7 degree Celsius after the grain has reached the soft-dough stage. It also requires minimum rainfall making it more suitable to be cultivated in any part of Bhutan with labor-intensive work.
Quinoa cultivation trial has been conducted in Dochula (3166m above sea level) on 1 April, 2016, which gave a good result by 6 November.
Another trial has been conducted in Phajoding (3500m above sea level) on 8 April, 2016 and it has also shown a good result by 5 November, 2016.
By 2017, MOAF targets to plant 65 acres of quinoa seed with expected product of 26,000 kgs. The highest will be of six acres in Trashigang with 2,400 kgs expected production while Gasa, Trashiyangtse and Trongsa have been targeted for least 400 kgs of quinoa from one acre of land each.
Quinoa has high nutritional proprieties as it has an excellent balance of carbohydrate, lipids and proteins for human nutrition. The nutritional components are very high in quinoa compared with other cereal foods like rice, maize and wheat.
Bhutan does not have local quinoa yet looking at the nutritional value two varieties of Quinoa were introduced in Bhutan, namely Amarilla Marangani and Amarilla Sacaca. It was introduced by Department of Agriculture with the help of FAO in 2015 from Peru.
Quinoa is referred to as the world’s healthiest food which originated from Amaranthaceae family. Quinoa is mainly cultivated between altitude 2500m and 4000m.
The need of quinoa commodity for food and nutrition was discussed in Agriculture conference, 2016, with an aim of improving agriculture program implementation efficiency. The three-day conference that ended on 9 November, 2016, was conducted by the Department of Agriculture headed by Lyonpo Yeshi Dorji. Officials from the department, Food Corporation of Bhutan, and dzongkhag agriculture office took part in the conference.