Quinoa seed tried in dif­fer­ent re­gions

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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.

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