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Altogether, the orderly cultivation of these varieties can improve the food availability of the area, and they could be an important offer in terms of food sovereignty, since they are crops that can be sustained without dependence on multinational companies from the seed and agrochemicals.
Through its Rural Program, it is developing different experiences aimed at improving the diet of peasant families in the area covered by the actions. In most cases it is about applying appropriate innovations; In truth, the basic proposal is to test in a group plant varieties that are easily adapted, using simple technologies. A fundamental item of these experiences is the recovery of forgotten or neglected crops in the region. In this sense, we distinguish three types: native varieties (quinoa, wild potatoes), imported varieties, used and later abandoned (for example cereals) and varieties that proliferate in a disorderly way, as is the case of gooseberries.
Altogether, the orderly cultivation of these varieties can improve the food availability of the area, and they could be an important offer in terms of food sovereignty, since they are crops that can be sustained without dependence on multinational companies from the seed and agrochemicals. This would be feasible if a gradual advance is made in the local procurement of material for reproduction. In the execution of this proposal, the work carried out in the field of the Rosales family, in the middle of the Patagonian plateau, is remarkable.
There, from being an "adaptive experience", quinoa was incorporated as a regular crop. Sowing in Anecón Chico Cristian Rosales and his family are part of the Cañadón Barullo group, which was formed within the framework of the ICEPH Rural program. His field is located in the Anecón Chico area, near the town of Clemente Onelli, Río Negro. It is an arid area, about a thousand meters above sea level, with winter temperatures of up to 30 degrees below zero. Cristian is a young peasant and willing to stay in the field. The establishment was traditionally dedicated to wool production, but since Cristian joined the ICEPH program, he has enthusiastically turned to diversify production.
In three years of work, this diversification added production of currants, oregano, alfalfa, oats, and, as a singular experience, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa; CHENOPODIACEAE. Common name "quinua", "achita", "canigua", "quinoa", "Inca wheat") This pseudo cereal, considered by FAO as one of the Andean plants with the highest nutritional value, is not new in the region; there are records of its sowing and consumption until the 1920s. Today it can be found as a wild plant, which many farmers consider a "weed". Quinoa plantation in the second year of the experience.
The seed that started the experience was provided by ICEPH in a small quantity, from Temuco, Chile, and was sown in the spring of 2001. In principle, there were strong doubts about the possibilities of cultivation, since the origin of the seeds was a region with very different agroecological conditions; Furthermore, no other similar projects are known in the region. But the results were optimal; Not only did the plants develop perfectly, but the attitude of the Rosales family was also encouraging, which incorporated rapid training on their use: for example, the prior process of removing the bitterness, which is done by manual washing.
Currently, Cristian has a more important sown plot (obtained from the seed itself), anticipating a relevant harvest of grain for consumption and seed. For the Rosales, quinoa is already a component of the family diet (taking advantage of grains and leaves, and following a series of traditional recipes) or of feeding poultry animals, among which the beginning of a rearing of baby corn stands out ( ñandú, Patagonian ostrich.
On February 28, a workshop was held at the family farm, with the participation of members of the ICEPH Rural Program. The field of the Rosales family was defined as a demonstration unit of the advantageous possibilities offered by productive diversification, with respect to single wool production. On that occasion, several of the participants expressed their interest in being multipliers of the experience of quinoa in their fields.
Quinoa in Patagonia seemed lost ... now it can recover and contribute its grain to food security and environmental sustainability. The ICEPH Rural Program is carried out in rural areas of Argentine Patagonia, in areas of the Río Negro and Neuquén provinces. It is made up of the Productive Alternatives in Rural Areas of Patagonia project, the Rural Housing Improvement Program, and PIDAASSA, the Program for Dialogue, Advice and Exchange on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security. "Productive alternatives ... and PIDASSA are made possible by the cooperation of Brot fur die Welt, from Germany.
* ICEPH Foundation / Cordillerano Institute for Human Studies and Promotion Rural Program
- Productive Alternatives and Sustainable Development Project
Miter 660 1º "C". Bariloche, 8400, Río Negro, Argentina.Telefax +54+ (0) 2944 424305
- [email protected]
Signed articles are the responsibility of the authors. It may or may not coincide with the concepts or opinions expressed.
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