FAO provides Technical Assistance for the Strengthening of the Food System of Quinoa in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture is organizing in Beirut a two-day training workshop in the framework of the regional project “Technical Assistance for the Strengthening of the Food System of Quinoa in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Mauritania, Sudan, and Yemen”, launched by FAO in collaboration with the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) in 2014. The workshop is held under the patronage of H.E. the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akram Chehayeb, and was attended by the FAO representative in Lebanon, Dr. Maurice Saade, The Director General of Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Louis Lahoud, extension engineers from the Ministry, professionals from the participating countries, and the FAO and LARI technical team.
The workshop aims to exchange knowledge and success stories and to discuss regional scaling up plans for Quinoa production and utilization activities in the successful Quinoa producing countries. It will serve not only to stimulate further development of the Quinoa crop throughout the Near East and North Africa regional countries but also as recognition that the challenges of the growing population can be tackled by calling on the accumulated knowledge of professionals across the countries and the small family farmers who could be the major producers of the Quinoa crop.
At the request of the Ministries of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has assisted regional countries to assess the potential for introduction, production and adaptation of Quinoa, develop national and regional capacities and provide basis for the integration of quinoa in the farming systems. Quinoa varieties suited to climatic conditions of the eight participating countries have been identified. In Egypt, Lebanon, and Iran interested farming communities are being involved in Quinoa production and marketing. The awareness about Quinoa production has been created through several workshops, trainings and field days organized for farmers, agriculture and extension professionals in all the eight participating countries.
Quinoa has been a successful crop for all the project countries particularly for Lebanon and Egypt. Marketing of quinoa is quite developed both in Lebanon & Egypt, with a significant number of importers involved in Quinoa trading, restaurants and local businesses using quinoa in their day to day operations, as well as a very wide variety of finished quinoa products are available on supermarket shelves. Therefore, to satisfy local demands, during 2014, Lebanon imported around 100 MT and Egypt 15 MT of Quinoa.
Quinoa, a nutritious cereal crop for millions of people throughout the Andes, could also play an important role in eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty in the Near East and North Africa region. Quinoa is the only plant food that has all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins with broader ability to adapt to different ecological environments and climates. With exceptional resistance to drought, poor soils and high salinity, it can successfully be grown from sea level to an altitude of four thousand meters and withstands temperatures between -8 and 38 degrees Celsius.