Development of Quinoa Value Chain to Improve Food and Nutritional Security in Rural Communities in Rehamna, Morocco: Lessons Learned and Perspectives
Agricultural production in the Rehamna region, Morocco is limited with various challenges including drought and salinity. Introduction of climate resilient and rustic crops such as quinoa was an optimal solution to increase farmer’s income and improve food security. This study summarizes results obtained from a research project aiming to develop quinoa value chain in Morocco. The study tackled several aspects including agronomic traits (yield and growth), transformation, quality (nutritional and antinutritional traits) and economic analysis and, finally, a strength–weaknesses–opportunities–threats analysis, lessons learned and development perspectives were presented. From an agronomic point of view, introduced new quinoa cultivars showed higher performance than locally cultivated seeds and, furthermore, the use of irrigation and organic amendment has tremendously improved seed yield by double and three times, respectively, compared to rainfed conditions. Nutritional analysis revealed that protein and phosphorus content remained stable after seed pearling while most of the micronutrients content decreased after seed pearling. However, saponins content was reduced by 68% using mechanical pearling compared to 57% using both traditional abrasion and washing. The economic analysis showed that production cost of quinoa seeds could be further decreased using mechanized intensive tools along with irrigation and organic amendment supply. This study revealed several lessons learned from the field experience and proposed several development actions for each value chain component that can be implemented within a national quinoa program.