Quinoa for export…? just the name or the actual produce??!

Humberto Vacaflor writes in El Diario:

Quinoa for export

Humberto VacaflorIt’s been the international year of quinoa and has left, a more famous quinoa in the world, but also leaves a problematic legacy:

• The price of quinoa in Bolivia is rising despite the efforts of companies to keep stocked the domestic market.

• The rest of the world is now fully prepared to produce their own quinoa.

The Government has already warned the first problem. The Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Agriculture, Víctor Hugo Vásquez said that from March 2014, the price shall be governed only by the expected increase for the next harvest, an estimated 35% increase.

“Effectively, during this year, quinoa demand rose, it went through promoting national and international markets, in this context, it is essential that we continue promoting this product”, said Vasquez in the closing of the international year of the quinoa in Oruro.

Vasquez compared the price of quinoa with beer and viagra prices to suggest that in international markets the price should remain high.

The option of banning exports such as for soybeans, was to keep domestic prices low, has not yet been considered.

A blow would be disastrous for the industry which has been struggling in a media campaign criticizing a country with 20% of its population starving to export a powerful food.

Soy producers want the same treatment and are wondering if the fact that prices will rise is problem only if the production is based in Santa Cruz?

As for the second problem, the fever by producing more quinoa everywhere, the signs are worrying for the Bolivian supremacy on the world market of quinoa.

Peruvians are producing grain at sea level and have been proposed to become the world’s leading exporter, the Chinese prepare thousands of hectares, and quinoa projects continue to grow in the rest of the world.

FAO intends to use the grain to feed the 842 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition in the world and, of course, doesn’t care much where quinoa comes from, and that has the ability to raise the utilization of nutrients from other foods.

One of the flaws of the successful campaign to ensure that 2013 is the international year of the quinoa is that it has done not enough to clarify to the world that is the Royal quinoa, which grows only in the area near the salt plains  of Uyuni, Potosi – Bolivia, which has the extraordinary nutritional qualities that all seek to replicate, up to now without success.

And this is dangerous for Bolivia, the country which is characterised by being the origin of the quinoa of high quality.

What bothers most foreign buyers is the volatility of the prices of raw quinoa within Bolivia. It may be that not worried about the Bolivian authorities much quinoa to triple its price as it did since 2006, but for importers is a behavior that is difficult to incorporate into their operations.

If an x price has closed as a deal for the sale of quinoa to a price and suddenly exporters say that the amount is 25% higher, it is a problem difficult to cope with for the importer, which has offered the product in their country at a price equivalent to the initial amount. In 2012 the quinoa ton average price was $3,055 dollars, while $3,832 averaged as of September 2013.


Similar situation occurred with our cotton back in the 70s and we lost the market and therefor ethe dance to export…

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

One thought on “Quinoa for export…? just the name or the actual produce??!

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