Here’s Why You Should Think Twice About Buying Cheap Quinoa

quinoa-897678_640Quinoa is one of the most popular foods these days, mainly for its high protein content.  You are probably wondering what could possibly go wrong when buying quinoa, aren’t you? If yes, read on! Apart from the endangered biological diversity in the Andes due to the increased production, Bolivia`s organic farmers are put against the agribusiness that have lately rapidly increased in Peru.

A great deal of Peruvian companies sells cheaper quinoa as result of the large pesticide use. Since 2013, Peru has increased twofold its quinoa production and it is likely to leave behind Bolivia, which used to be the largest exporter. About ten years ago, Peru had 6% of the international market while Bolivia had 10%.

Reynaldo Mamani, a Bolivian farmer has told The Associated Press that “[Peruvian businesses] are trying to force us to lower prices.” This farmer grows larger and reddish quinoa and even though he utilizes pesticides, he omits chemical fertilizers and chooses to use llama manure as substitute.

To the contrary, Peruvian grow white-seed quinoa that is grown in places on which other crops have grown earlier, and thus has higher chance of containing pesticide remains.

According to U.S. quinoa importer Sergeo Nunez de Arco, “Bugs love quinoa and that’s one reason why it does so well in the highlands, where there are fewer pests.”

Bolivian government claims that Peru has illegally brought non-organic quinoa into Bolivia in order to mix it and sell as organic.  Mamani and his fellow farmers have been forced to lower their prices due to the fact that climate change affected the highlands and thus threatened their crops. As reported by AP, Mamani and 500 quinoa growers asked the President for action on the subject matter.

Recently, local authorities have seized 23 metric tons of Peruvian quinoa and burned it down. This has been the only thing done to fix the situation and people seek other solutions. For instance, Pablo Laguna, a Bolivian anthropologist, said that government is the one that has to cooperate with the quinoa growers to validate their product. “It needs to demonstrate scientifically that is the best, because it’s difficult to tell by taste,” Pablo said.

As reported by Whole Grains Council, imports of quinoa rapidly increased in 2008, the time when Oprah Winfrey suggested it for a detox diet.  This seed is all the rage in USA and 7-Eleven plans on packing its stores with quinoa.