Guyana looking to cultivate Quinoa as major crop

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 28, CMC – Guyana says it is moving towards cultivating Quinoa, an organic seed that is grown in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Southern Chile and which has major health benefits.
Scientists at the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), said there is consideration to cultivate the grain as the next major crop grown in Guyana.
NAREI chief executive officer, Dr. Oudho Homenauth said that the “health food” is gaining worldwide prominence since important health benefits are attached.
“We are looking at a crop that was mentioned, I think it was mentioned by His Excellency )David Granger),  I believe the president would have mentioned it, Quinoa. Quinoa is one of those health foods that is gaining prominence worldwide.
“We have been working with the (Food and Agriculture Organisation) FAO in this regard and very shortly we will get some seed material from Peru that we can utilise here and it will be done in hinterland areas.” Homenauth said, adding that the crop was never planted in Guyana and several variety samples will be acquired to determine yields and to have indications for a way forward with the food type.
Quinoa is an herbaceous, tiny, bead-shaped, with a slightly bitter flavoured coating, nutty flavor with a firm texture. It has more than 200 varieties which can be mainly classified by the basis of areas in which it is grown.Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids. Although there are hundreds of cultivated varieties of quinoa, the most common versions available are white, red, and black quinoa.
It has been recognised by the United Nations as a ‘supercrop’ for its significant health benefits. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. Quinoa provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa contains twice as much fiber than any other grain and also has iron, magnesium, Riboflavin (B2), and a high content of manganese.
While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, similar to regular white rice, brown rice and other grains such as wheat and barley, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.

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