Emerging Commodities: Quinoa

Since 2008, global quinoa consumption has rapidly increased. In Australia, planting has been concentrated largely in Western Australia. While there are potential benefits from diversification for wheat producers, concerns remain around reliability of yield, weed control and marketing.

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  • Quinoa is a high protein, gluten free grain native to the Peruvian Andes. It has been cultivated in the Andes for several thousand years and has long been a staple in Bolivia and Peru. Since 2008, global quinoa consumption has rapidly increased. Prices in Bolivia rose from around 40-50 US cents/kg in the 1990s and early 2000s to US$6.50/kg in early 2014 before falling to around $3.40 in January 2015.
  • The strong interest in quinoa has led to efforts to grow the crop commercially outside South America. In Australia, planting of quinoa has been concentrated largely in Western Australia and to a lesser extent Tasmania. In Western Australia, trials have centred around Narrogin in the wheatbelt and Kununurra in the Ord River irrigation area.
  • It remains to be seen whether quinoa production can succeed commercially in Australia. While there are potential benefits from diversification for wheat producers, concerns remain around reliability of yield, weed control and marketing.

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Read comments made by Khan Horne, General Manager of NAB Agribusiness, on this report.