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Gettysburg College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Bolivia: Latin American Revolutionary Movements and Conflict Resolution

Abstract

In the last two decades there has been a growing demand for quinoa in the global market. The variety known as “royal quinoa” is in highest demand because of the size of its great and its high nutritional value. This variety grows exclusively in the high plateau of Bolivia, around two salt flats. Bolivia, therefore, is the number one producer and exporter of this “grano de oro,” and has been facing an increasing demand. The subject of quinoa is very pertinent to Bolivian politics because President Evo Morales has been promoting and incentivizing the production, and because 2013 will be the International Year of Quinoa. Although the production and exportation of quinoa is generating a lot of money for the country, there are also environmental and social effects that deserve more attention and research. I, as a consumer of quinoa and as a citizen of the United States, the number one importer of quinoa in the world, wanted to spend time in a community that produces quinoa in order to better understand the perceptions of the producers themselves. For this research project I spent 10 days living in a community called Coqueza, where I found that although the quinoa boom is a central element in this region, it is not the only feature characterizing and affecting these communities. Coqueza, for example, is actually decreasing their production to focus more in tourism. Based on my time in this community conversing with various coqueceños, this study analyzes the characteristics and the current transformations of this community, which is something much more complex and extensive than simply a group of quinoa producers.

Disciplines

Agricultural Economics

 

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