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At around 3500 – 4200 m a.s.l. the smallholder-cooperative ANAPQUI (Asociación Nacional de Productores de Quinua) grows its quinoa for Rapunzel. Felicidad Gonzales is one of the cooperative’s peasants and members: „It’s pleasing how quinoa cultivation has developed through the years. In the end we owe that to organic farming and fair trade. A lot of families returned because of the good prospects quinoa cultivation offers today”.

Traditional work by hand

The traditional cultivation of quinoa required a lot of manual work and was very time consuming. Because of the increasing demand the quinoa is not only cultivated on impassable slopes but also on plains. The soil is prepared with machines but the harvest is done by hand. The quinoa is threshed by a tractor driving over the quinoa. After the threshing the quinoa is separated manually by air.
manual separation of the small and big corns by air
manual separation of the small and big corns by air

The Hand in Hand Fund helps

Aside from quinoa, there are potatoes and beans grown traditionally for self-supply in the high plains and almost every peasant raises cattle, at most lamas. As this manual quinoa cultivation requires a lot of work and time, its intensive cultivation form spreads more and more thus destroying the natural vegetation, as the soil is ploughed by tractors. Even after years of lying fallow the soil surface hardly recovers. RAPUNZEL is therefore funding the afforestation of the high plain with bushes and shrubs as well as the development of alternative and sustainable forms of cultivation by means of the HAND IN HAND Fund (altogether 9.000€ in 2006 and 2008).

"The grain of the Incas"

Yet for millennia quinoa has been a greatly significant crop for the Andes’ natives. The plant itself is a yearlong, 0.5 – 2 m, very resistant herb which blossoms even on scant and salty soil and under extreme conditions. The remarkable protein content of about 15% and the high portions of iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium and vitamin E turn quinoa into a high grade food, that excellently adds to a balanced and healthy diet, and a kitchen all-rounder.

Ripe quinoa
Ripe quinoa

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