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Demand For Quinoa A Boon For Bolivian Farmers

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NPR.org

Quinoa, once a staple of the Incas, is now increasingly popular in the U.S. It's high in protein and iron, and much of it comes from the windswept, high-altitude plains of Bolivia, known as the altiplano.

The Bolivian altiplano doesn't look like good farmland. It doesn't even look fertile. Everything is covered in bleached-out scrub and rocks. Llamas graze on the barren landscape amid occasional whirls of dust.

But this seemingly hostile environment has ideal conditions for quinoa: It's about 2 miles above sea level, sandy and arid. The nearby Uyuni salt flat provides the right minerals, and dung from herds of grazing llamas and sheep means good fertilizer.

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