Quinoa is a traditional South American grain akin to rye or wheat in Europe and one of the basic foods for the peoples in the Bolivian highlands. In recent years however, cheap grain imports almost completely wiped out the Quinoa farming industry.
However, the increase in demand for fair trade products has helped turn the tables. The cooperative Anapqui in the catchment area of the salt lake of Uyuni at 3,500m altitude is again growing the true Inca gold in large quantities.
The importance of this development for the poorest regions of South America is difficult to measure. Most of the inhabitants here can’t read or write and many of them speak only the local languages of Aymara but not Spanish.
Rapunzel Naturkost in Germany purchases 100 tons of quinoa annually from the cooperative, helping the locals earn a steady income according to the basic tenets of the Hand in Hand partnership philosophy. Rapunzel is both the initiator and main financial supporter of this project which is jointly run by the Deutsche Umwelthilfe and the Hand in Hand-Fund.