For the first time, quinoa was introduced into Gannan Prefecture of northwest China's Gansu Province in April, 2018. Could this overseas crop grow well on a land which has only cultivated highland barley and cole? By the end of October, the answer was revealed.
Tashije, a villager, said when the village first advocated everyone to try growing quinoa, people were uncertain, but as time passed, the quinoa grew better and better. In October, the crop became very robust and then they had their harvest. "Something we couldn't even imagine before is now reality," he said.
In March of this year, it was recommended that because of the high altitude, drought, and lack of rainfall in Xiahe, Gansu, the locals could try growing quinoa, with seeds and fertilizer provided for free. Once harvested, the quinoa would be bought at market price.
Quinoa originated in the Andes of South America; the crop likes extreme cold and high altitude climate, and is highly nutritious. It is a whole-grain, whole-nutrition, and completely alkaline protein source. With all nine amino acids needed by the human body, quinoa is known as the "mother of all grains."
The Tibetan-inhabited area in Gannan is very suited to growing quinoa. The quinoa forage is also good for feeding livestock, and the animals' manure could be used for the fields, forming an organic agricultural chain. The quinoa industry has clear advantages and a lot of potential.
For the locals, anything which thrives in the soil brings hope. "When we grew highland barley before, the market price was 2 yuan (0.23 US dollars) per kilogram. But quinoa is paid 8 yuan (1.16 US dollars) per kilogram, so we don't have to worry about sales at all," said Tserang, a villager who planted 10 mu (0.67 hectares) of quinoa this year. He has decided to allocate more land for growing quinoa next year.