FAO celebrates quinoa as "new ally against hunger"
18 October 2013
First Lady of Peru Nadine Heredia with FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva pose with a group of Peruvian dancers
ROME - FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva welcomed the Peruvian First Lady Nadine Heredia on Thursday to celebrate the quinoa plant, which has become the "new ally against hunger."
The event took place at the FAO headquarters in Rome with the intent to promote awareness of the useful benefits of quinoa as part of World Food Week. The event began with a discussion on the importance of the plant in combatting the challenges of world hunger. The FAO intends to work with farmers worldwide in order to provide assistence in producing and harvesting the many varieties of quinoa.
The Director General spoke of the "fundamental role" that quinoa will have on "eradicating" hunger. The plant possesses many nutritional benefits essential to the development children and its versatility allows it to adapt to the climates of many different regions. Graziano said that this year "quinoa became our new ally against hunger."
The Peruvian First Lady, who also serves as the FAO Ambassador for the 2013 Year of the Quinoa, stated that Peru is "proud" to be one of the world's top producers of the plant and expressed hope that the product will become as "well-known as potatoes and corn."
She explained that it is also "important to revive ancestral knowledge," since the plant has been harvested in South America for several thousand years and plays a central role in Peruvian food culture. The discussion concluded with a video narrating the Peruvian legend of how quinoa came to Peru and became an important staple to life.
After the panel discussion, the two officials took part in a symbolic harvest of several quinoa plants that had been grown at the FAO headquarters this past spring. Following the harvest, a group of musicians and dancers performed a traditional Andean dance to promote the historical culture of Peru.
The group of attendees was then invited to enjoy in a tasting of many different dishes featuring the quinoa plant, which demonstrated the versatility the plant can have in the kitchen.