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How Can Quinoa Value Chain Improve Food and Income Security in Marginal Environments? : Success Story from Morocco

Agriculture is facing many challenges as climate change, drought, salinity…etc. which calls for urgent interventions to fast adaptation and diversification. In this context, introduction of crops with a high value and a high tolerance to stress such as quinoa would enable to address simultaneously two interrelated challenges: abiotic stresses that undermine crop production and poverty that impacts the rural poor. The quinoa Rehamna project funded by IDRC and implemented by ICBA and UM6P university in Morocco aims to develop the quinoa value chain towards achieving food and nutritional security of poor rural communities. The obtained results from the farmer’s survey showed that 19% of surveyed farmers already grow quinoa and 2/3 never heard about quinoa, among them 95% are interested to grow quinoa. Several high yielding quinoa cultivars developed in ICBA have been introduced. Obtained results from experimental station and on-farm trials show clearly that ICBA cultivars recorded higher yields than local cultivated seeds. Applying irrigation had a notable effect on quinoa productivity as it was increasing of most cultivars by more than three times. While applying irrigation along with organic amendment has increased yield four times for most of tested cultivars. A production cost analysis showed that using mechanized production and processing practices combined with irrigation and organic amendment can reduce the cost of quinoa seed production and processing from 2.8 to 1.1 USD/kg compared to manual production system under rainfed conditions. The marketing study revealed that the psychological price that satisfies most of consumers is ranging between 2 and 2.6 USD/500 gr of processed quinoa grains. It was concluded from the obtained results that in order to be more competitive, using mechanized production and processing along with irrigation, organic amendment and high yielding cultivars is the key solution to increase productivity, reduce cost and thus reduce market price. The findings indicate that quinoa has a great potential for both producers and consumers in Morocco and can be a judicious solution toward achieving food and nutritional security.