food politics

Quinoa Is So Powerful That It Can Basically Energize an Entire Country

What's good for you is good for Bolivia.

What's good for you is good for Bolivia.Photo: iStockphoto

Yes, we know quinoa is a superfood. All the scientists agree: It's just about the healthiest food you can eat! Everyone who eats it regularly swears by the stuff. You just have so much energy! But it's not just people that quinoa can energize. It's also powering the economy of Bolivia!

It's true! According to an AP story printed in the Washington Post, us developed-nation folks can't get enough of the stuff, and that means prices are booming in Bolivia, which produces most of the world's supply. That's good news for the Bolivian farmers who grow it: "Quinoa's rising popularity among First World foodies — the wholesale price has jumped sevenfold since 2000 as global demand climbed — has been a boon to the poor farmers here in the semiarid highlands where most of it grows."

Bolivia's quinoa exports have gone from $1.8 million in 2001 to more than $25 million in 2009. And the goal for the most recent harvest is double that. In fact, quinoa is so important for the country's economy that the Bolivian government has deemed it a "strategic" food.

So it's an extremely healthy food that's easy for an impoverished country to grow and export. Sounds good, unless you're a locavore, in which case you're pretty much out of luck. Oh well! We just hope it doesn't turn into the next banana.

Quinoa's popularity boon to Bolivians [WP]

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