The new seal of denomination of origin for the Royal Quinoa of Bolivia’s southern high planes was presented on February 16th. The event was held in Nuremberg, Germany, at the most important organic fair in the world, the “Biofach 2017”.
The denomination of Origin is the result of years of joint work from the government and the quinoa sector.
The denomination of origin working tables, along with an integral strategy of quinoa are the basis of the Plurinational State of Bolivia’s public policy for quinoa.
What is a denomination of origin?
The Denomination of Origin of the Royal Quinoa of Bolivia seeks to differentiate the quinoa production of Bolivia from that of the rest of the world. A seal of denomination of origin is a guarantee that the product that shows it was produced in a certain region. In the case of quinoa, in the only region of the world where Royal Quinoa is produced organically and in which the characteristics of the region result in extraordinary nutritional levels.
Experts already know that Bolivia’s royal quinoa is special and different, with the seal, for the denomination of origin, buyers will also be able to identify it.
A different quinoa
Scientists studying superfoods, such as quinoa, believe that the high nutritional level of Bolivian Royal Quinoa is due to the unique conditions that occur in the inter-salt-lake area, between the Uyuni salt-lake and the Coipasa salt-lake. The salinity of the earth, the high altitude, the significant levels of lithium, the extraordinary solar radiation and the purity of the water are some of the factors that result in a unique production that until now remains inimitable.
The quinoa genome has been studied with great intensity over the last 20 years and although many countries such as the United States, Australia and Canada, have managed to produce a couple of agricultural campaigns of royal quinoa, they haven’t been able to achieve the grain size or the nutritional levels of Bolivian Royal Quinoa.
In Peru, with the help of the University of La Molina, they have adapted quinoa varieties to increase yield per hectare and even for cultivation in coastal areas, but always sacrificing quality. Throughout the world the experts highlight the quality of our Royal variety and we have panels of scientists looking to replicate and adapt this variety.
Today the world is exposed to an extensive genetically modified food production. And the recent discovery of the quinoa genome, at a university in Dubai, only opens up the possibility of genetically modified quinoa being produced worldwide.
Recently, Bolivia has lost its position as the largest producer and exporter of quinoa in the world. The price of our quinoa has always been greater than that of competitors and for reasons that buyers know well: our quinoa is simply better.
Bolivian producers consider that this prices differentiation is not enough for a crop that reflects the identity of one of the most arid areas of Bolivia, where quinoa, farmers and geography, form a triad that generates a product of the highest quality; Organic, 100% gluten free, from native varieties, where there is no direct or indirect contamination from other crops. Buyers also know this and that is why the most demanding markets need to be able to differentiate Bolivian Quinoa from other common varieties.
Taking the denomination of origin seal to markets is now in the hands of national and foreign companies that have been carrying the Bolivian royal quinoa in grain or processed products around the world for more than 33 years.
In order to help consumer tell the deferens between Royal Quinoa and others, Bolivia is implementing a traceability program, alongside the denomination of origin, to guarantee organic production for marketing internationally. And also technical studies of characterization and differentiation Of Bolivia’s Royal Quinoa from the rest of quinoa produced worldwide.
With this, the consumer can protect their diet to avoid consuming genetically modified foods and ensure the quality of the quinoa they eat. This system of traceability will ensure that the final consumer in Tarata or in Sidney knows exactly where the quinoa they feed their families with, was produced.
A team effort
The presentation of the Denomination of Origin in Nuremberg was the result of a coordinated effort between the main associations of producers; ANAPQUI, APQUISA, CECAOT and the main Chambers; CADEQUIR (Chamber of Quinua de Potosí), CADEPQUIOR (Chamber of Quinoa of Oruro), CNPQ (National Chamber of Quinoa Producers) together with exporters through CABOLQUI (Chamber of Exporters of Quinoa and other Organic Products) and their companies, as well as exporting companies not affiliated with CABOLQUI.
The working agenda to achieve the Denomination of Origin of the Royal Quinoa of Bolivia managed to unite all the actors that make up the sector.
Also participating in the event were Royal Quinoa customers from North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy of Bolivia was represented by Percy Belmonte, who explained that Royal Quinoa is one of the star products of our country and renewed state support for this Sector: “Bolivia’s government aims to comply with all national and international legal requirements of the Royal Quinoa Denomination of Origin seal, strengthen the Regulatory Council in such a way that it is an entity capable of administering this seal and implementing a Traceability system that ensures the quality of our product. This process is not over, and the Bolivian government has the firm intention of seeing it to conclusion.”
For his part, the Bolivian Ambassador to Germany, Jorge Cárdenas, stressed that this seal is an important step for the country, because it is the first time that Bolivia has presented a Denomination of Origin to the world. He also explained to the audience that “as of today, this Premium product from Bolivia is protected from counterfeiting. When the consumer sees this seal they will know that they are buying a product that has not been genetically modified, which is 100% gluten free and organic. We are confident that Bolivia will regain its leadership as the largest producer of quinoa in the world.”
Finally, the Chairman of the Regulatory Council, Juan Carlos Choque addressed the audience, expressing the following comment: “I am proud that the Council now includes associations of producers, processors and exporters. Today we have an expanded Council with all the actors in the quinoa sector, and this makes us stronger, sustainable and we see a more positive future”. He emphasized that this project was started more than 15 years ago when some producers through their associations decided to push to achieve this seal.