RDC plans to try quinoa adaptability in other parts of the country

Agriculture: Evaluation has found that two varieties of quinoa (chenopodium quinoa wild) in Phobjikha, Wangdue was a success.

Quinoa is a high nutrient grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. As a member of the Amaranthaceae family, it is related to and resembles amaranth (Zhimtsi).

Research Development Centre (RDC) Bajo conducted the evaluation as part of the nation-wide test for local adaptability.

Researcher with RDC Bajo, Cheku Dorji, said that because the crop was tried for first time, it was tested at Phobjikha. The crop grows at an altitude of 2,980 metres above sea level.

Quinoa seeds are sown in March and the crop is harvested in November last year, he said. A total of 24 kg seeds were collected for further testing. The seeds were sown uniformly and, at later stage, the plants were thinned to maintain a plant-to-plant spacing of 25 cm. It was observed that there was enough moisture and irrigation was not necessary after sowing.

About 200kg farmyard manure was used to grow the crops and manual hand weeding was done once a month. Due to more rainfall last year, day temperature remained low and affected the plant growth. The crop maturation was delayed by about 80 days.

If the climate remains normal, the crops can grow well, said Cheku Dorji, adding that it may take some time before seeds can be distributed to farmers for enhanced production. “But we are now sure that the two varieties will grow in places sharing same altitude as that of Phobjikha.”

The centre, Cheku Dorji said, is in the process of trying the seeds in other parts of the country. The seeds were brought from South America through Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Quinoa is known for its genetic variability, wide adaptability and high nutritional quality. Quinoa is used to make flour, soup, breakfast cereal and alcohol.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue