Breeding Strategies for Quinoa

Capacity building

The aim of the Foundation is to give vegetable growers all the help they need to increase production levels and raise living standards of the families involved.

Peru is a diverse country: tropical climate prevails in the Eastern rain forests (“Selva”) while there is a dry desert climate in the West and in the coastal regions (“Costa”). The central Andes (“Sierra”) and the Andean plateau (“Altiplano”) are moderate to cold zones. This diversity is reflected in Peruvian agricultural systems. Smallholder farmers in all parts of the country cultivate a multitude of maize and quinoa varieties. This biodiversity is at risk due to increasingly extreme climate events and migration of young people to the cities, leading to the loss of traditional knowledge concerning cultivation, use and preservation of plants. As a result, there is a chronic shortage of food, especially in remote regions. A total of eight million out of 30 million Peruvians live below the poverty line.

KWS’s Capacity Building Initiative in Peru – completely financed by KWS – consists of various projects that are intended to help improve the food security of Peruvian smallholder farmers.

One of the projects focuses on new breeding strategies for quinoa, an annual, very nutritious grain crop that was domesticated in the Andes about 4,000 years ago. For this purpose, genetic variations and gains from the selection in crosses of different parental quinoa materials are studied. At the same time, the project tries to preserve the genetic resources of quinoa and make it usable for sustainable agriculture. The project collaborates with local partners for variety release and local seed system development.

Key facts:

  • Project partners include the National University of the Altiplano (UNAP, Puno) and Hohenheim University (UH). 
  • A Peruvian PhD student is also involved in the project, being trained in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Karl Schmid (UH).

Contact:

Paul Olson: paul.olson@kws.com
Walter Schmidt: walter.schmidt@kws.com  

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Breeding Strategies for Quinoa