Chile to help Vietnam grow quinoa

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Chile's Institute for Agricultural Research said it is helping Vietnam grow quinoa, a plant with an edible grainlike seed packed with nutrients that can grow in harsh conditions.

The Hanoi University of Agriculture and the INIA have begun a pilot project to grow the crop in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, news website Vietnamplus reported.

According to INIA, quinoa can tolerate chilly weather and drought, and grow in barren soil, meaning it is suitable for Vietnam's northern mountainous region.

The General Statistics Office reported that more than 737,300 people, or 0.84 percent of the population, are malnourished.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where it was domesticated around 7,000 years ago for human consumption.

During a recent visit to Vietnam, Ivan Matus, national coordinator of INIA's genetic resources program, studied the climatic and soil conditions in Ha Giang Province.

The INIA would provide technical assistance to Vietnam to grow two Quinoa varieties, he said.

If the pilot project proves successful, it will be replicated in other mountainous areas in Vietnam.

Interestingly, the US space agency chose quinoa as the main food for its astronauts in space since it is one of the most nutritious and equilibrated foods known to man.

INIA also plans to help Thailand grow it.

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