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Nina Gonzalo

Quinoa producer Benjamina “Nina” Gonzalo (52) struggled for years to make a living. She was among thousands of poor smallholder farmers in the Ayacucho and Puno regions of Peru who were unable to benefit from rising global demand for the “super grain”. Peru is the world’s biggest producer of quinoa followed by Bolivia, and together they account for 80% of global trade; yet while exports of quinoa have increased exponentially in recent years, this had not led to a better quality of life or higher income for Peruvian farmers like Nina. It wasn’t until Nina took part in the Andean Grains Joint Programme promoted by the SDG Fund that her circumstances began to improve. “We have been taught to select and distinguish the types of seeds, which type of grain is the most in demand in the market, for example. Previously we sowed without knowing the types of seed, but now we know the properties of each one and its benefits,” Nina said. “Previously, we produced little, but thanks to the cooperative business model we are also more connected to the quinoa market.”