“Wanted: Food for the Future” has delivered its first concrete result: sustainable quinoa from Peru

“How can we feed the growing world population in a sustainable and healthy manner?” The Province of Flemish Brabant, Rikolto (Vredeseilanden), KU Leuven and UC Leuven-Limburg and Colruyt Group are going in search of answers to this question in the project “Wanted: Food for the Future”. One of the many solutions was the setting up of sustainable food chains in the Global South. The first concrete result of this will be in shops from June 2018 at Colruyt, OKay, Bio-Planet and Spar Colruyt Group – a new quinoa mix from Peru.

Food for the Future: via sustainable food chains

The various partners are searching for ways to continue to feed the growing world population in a sustainable manner through the “Wanted: Food for the Future” project.

In the “Wanted: Food for the Future”. The Province of Flemish Brabant is getting young people, companies and educational institutions involved through its network. Rikolto (Vredeseilanden) is using its international experience with setting up chain projects and training farmer organisations. KU Leuven is supporting the project with scientific research. UC Leuven-Limburg is getting its students engaged in the debate. Colruyt Group is actively bringing new sustainable products onto the market, including by setting up chain projects. Furthermore, the group is also creating education projects for young people through Collibri Foundation which is creating an enriching exchange between the chains and the training projects.

The various partners want to stimulate the debate by bringing together scientists, stakeholders and consumers. They also want to literally ‘feed’ the debate in practice with a sustainable food chain for quinoa from Peru. A similar approach may be used for seaweed form Indonesia and legumes from Tanzania – initial contacts are promising.

These crops are nutritious, have a small environmental footprint and also offer new opportunities to the farmers who produce them. This means that these food products have a good chance of being future-proof.

Quinoa - plant of the future

Quinoa is a nutritious plant and may play a significant role in feeding the growing world population in a sustainable manner thanks its various characteristics:

  • Low blue water footprint: Quinoa requires 5 times less water to produce than rice or wheat.
  • High in protein: quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids that you need. It contains more protein than grains.
  • High in fibre: its slow-acting sugars mean that you feel satisfied more quickly and do not feel hungry again soon afterwards.
  • Low disease levels: the plant suffers less from disease.
  • Stress resistance: quinoa is very resistant to frost, drought and saline soil. This means that you can grow it in various regions.

‘Boni Selection Bio quinoa tricolore’: a guarantee for a regular distribution market for local farmers

‘Boni Selection Bio quinoa tricolore’ will be on sale from June 2018 in Colruyt, OKay, Bio-Planet and Spar Colruyt Group shops and so is the first result from a sustainable chain project of this kind. The local partner for “Wanted: Food for the Future” is the commercial and social organisation Solid Food Perú.

The new quinoa tricolore, a mix of white, red and black quinoa, is cultivated by 182 local farmers in the Peruvian region of Ayacucho. These are small, family producers that are supported by Solid.

Solid buys the quinoa from the farms for a fair price (higher than the average market value) and checks whether the quality requirements have been met. The organisation then takes care of the logistics, processing and packaging. It sells the quinoa on to Colruyt Group, which transports it by boat.

Colruyt Group has committed to purchasing 34 tonnes of quinoa in the first year. For farmers in Ayacucho, the partnership signifies an additional income and a permanent distribution market in Belgium.

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