Zimbabwe set to benefit from quinoa planting project

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By Thobekile Khumalo 

ZIMBABWE is set to benefit from a quinoa planting project meant to build resilience in 18 Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) districts across the country facing hunger.

The programme is meant to also promote small grain farming.

Quinoa is a gluten-free plant food, which contains high fiber, protein and highly nutritious.

It was introduced by Sizimele Consortium in 2017, imported from South America and Ethiopia and first undertaken by Zimbabwean farmers 2019 in Matobo district.

The grain has high value protein, making it a cereal which has both carbohydrates and protein which most of the country’s already present plants do not have, including maize.

It has been subjected to the Standard Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) test which confirmed its high nutritional value.

“As Zimbabwe we now have over 3 000 farmers implementing the project in 18 districts across the country. These districts include Nyaminyami,  Lupane, Matobo, Insiza, Nkayi, Mutoko and Mbira to mention but a few,” said ZRBF-Sizimele Consortium project leader Diego Matsange.

“The plant can be grown in two seasons in a year which is the rainy and winter season and takes 60 to 70 days before harvesting. The grain only needs water to germinate and after that as long as the soil is good the plant can grow.”

Matsvange said the plant had a very good market with Zambian companies demanding the grain.

He added: “Our target is to produce 6 000 metric tonnes annually that would be a good starting point because we have a large market that we are failing to supply.”

Quinoa can be eaten as rice or ground into flour for baking.