Day 34: What’s next – wrapping it all up – new projects.

Day 34: What’s next – wrapping it all up – new projects.

I’m now in La Paz – at a lovely AirBnB with wifi and river views located just a few blocks from Catholic University.  I am far from the quinoa fields.  La Paz is called NYC in a tea cup in reference to its wide deep valley filled with tall apartment buildings and modern offices – crisscrossed by the ever-moving silent teleferricos – suspended cable cars that take Boliviana across un and down form the vast city to the endless communities extending outwards.

With the 3-year quinoa study ending, the question is what’s next?  I am now faculty at Landmark College, teaching Economics and Entrepreneurship in the Business and Professional Studies Department.  It’s nice to have a long term contract and steady work.  The Landmark students are different from my 5-college whizzes and SIT graduate students who have worked on different parts of the quinoa project from the US – in the form of open ended, applied learning in my marketing and entrepreneurship classes.  My Landmark College students learn differently and are nuerodiverse – they need more structure and support in their classes.  So I need to have carefully developed case studies and predictable, calm environments for them to work in.   What emerged is the Quinoa Real gourmet variety project and a two week study away program to be housed in Salinas.

I spent the last week in Salinas and Oruro, setting up the groundwork for these projects.  The organic, Fair Trade FLO certified cooperative APQUISA will provide US-ready 1-pound packages of cleaned varieties of Toledo Amarillo for “quinoa pilaf” and Panela regular and toasted for the most amazing quinoa soups and stews.  This is the way the Andean women cook – using varieties, not just colors in their cooking.  Both these varieties are white and are traditionally sold mixed together in the common market.  My students will be exploring their individual properties, qualities, differences and introducing them the to US consumer in a project of “direct buy” – bypassing the expensive and cumbersome container-scale supply chain they are now hooked into.  This will be a diversification project to complement the larger sales the farmers currently work with – one aimed at bringing a minimum 800Bs per quintal value to the quinoa and more directly benefitting the producers themselves – creating an undisputed market niche for Bolivia’s Royal Quinoa varieties. I will also have my students working with Caslila – the rare, clear quinoa of the Bolivian mountains.  When cooked this quinoa is gummy and is used in breads, pastries and desserts.  I am thinking King Arthur Flour in Vermont will love it!  Catholic University in Cochabamba will be helping with laboratory analysis of the quinoa varieties so it will really be a shared effort.  There is a national market for quinoa varieties too that I am encouraging producer organizations to take advantage of – from the 4-star restaurants of the large cities to the quickly expanding national network of supermarket – the “Hipermaxi.”  Introducing quinoa varieties will also help to preserve seed diversity explained Catholic University’s Jean Paul, a sociologist studying potato markets.

Besides the market study I am proposing to have the students come to Salinas for an annual study away program about Global Markets.  Here they can learn together about the culture, production and transformation of quinoa – right from the quinoa capital itself!  The group will then split into three smaller teams and spend a few days coming up with innovative ways of working on either the cultural aspects with the 5,000 year old ruins, artifacts and mummies of Aycalla a primitive quinoa town, production points of quinoa growing in the rural community of Otuyo or transformation technologies related to the quinoa machinery in the Salinas town.  These insights will be shared with a larger community audience.  In between there will be opportunities to explore the quinoa kitchens, colonial and geographical history of Salinas with 500 year old Spanish mills, naturally carbonated mineral springs and the Tunupa volcano (dormant).  In between all this, students will have time to stroll quiet town streets, wonder at the vastness of the surreal salt flats, and reflect upon it all under the wide altiplano skies.  Traditional welcoming ceremonies and departure blessings will be shared too.

The quinoa story does not end – it just keeps growing!

On August 16th I will present my quinoa data at Catholic University in la Paz and have guests – women leaders from the quinoa fields – come and present their experiences and answer questions.  I will also have a small quinoa market at the university gates and will be serving quinoa snacks at the presentation.  I hope to have 60 people attend – including students, quinoa workers and the press.

Day 19 – a recipe.  Cream of quinoa soup, by Melina Cayo.

Day 19 – a recipe.  Cream of quinoa soup, by Melina Cayo.

Ingredients

¾ cup of dry quinoa

2 ½  cups of chopped/grated fresh vegetables of your choice. Suggestion: 1 large white onion finely chopped, 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped, 4 stalks of celery finely chopped, 4 carrots grated, ½ cup of fresh peas, 3 small whole potatoes peeled

Fresh chopped parsley

6 cups of water

1 tbs. oil

Salt

Pepper

Directions:

Saute the onions and garlic until slightly browned and add the water and vegetables.  Cook on a medium flame until boiling.  Lower the flame and continue to boil. Meanwhile, toast the quinoa in a dry skillet (cast iron works best) stirring frequently until just slightly browned.  Grind the quinoa in a clean coffee grinder (or as they do in Bolivia hand grind it with a stone).  Add this to the soup stirring frequently.  Lower the heat and continue to stir for 5 minutes.  The soup will thicken.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and top with fresh chopped parsley.  Yum!

Day 19 – A day in the life of a Fulbright mom.

Day 19 – A day in the life of a Fulbright mom.

I sit in the bed, computer on my lap, listening to the sounds of tropical birds and roosters.  The fuzzy silhouette of palm trees gradually sharpens against a brightening morning sky visible through the thin pink bedside curtains which cover a screened wall.  There was a moment of early morning calm as the all-night wedding came to an end and celebrants took to the streets singing as they stumbled their way home. After the dogs stopped barking at the celebrants’ arrival, an unusual silence enveloped the still dark village.  That is until the roosters awoke a short hour later.

In the tropics we are all in each other’s world.  Open screens, windows, walls and doors let the thick air move and mingles our lives together as well.  I hear a cell phone ring and an early mumbled conversation, the neighbor across the way gently snoring, a mom waking her child up for school.  In the tropics we all live together, no matter who we are.  The soft hush and deep growl of cars and trucks on the nearby highway slowly begins and the small, sleepy town of Villa Tunari wakes up.

I have left the cold, snow covered quinoa fields for a weekend in the tropics to pick up my son who just finished a month of volunteer work caring for traumatized monkeys, too damaged to live free in the wild.  They are in the care of an organization that works to make their life as stimulating and natural as possible living in large cages in their natural habitat surrounded by fellow monkeys who are re-socialized and free.  My son cleans the cages, feeds the 40+ monkeys, takes them out on walks on leashes and cuts fresh branches and greens for the surrounding jungle for them to play with.  Over the month, he went from being a team worker to managing the team.  At age 17, he and his classmate were the youngest ones in the program which mostly attracts 20-something college graduates from Europe and Australia. When I picked him up, there were about 40 other helpers in the program, all staying for the minimum month or more required to work with the animals – monkeys, ring tailed raccoon like critters, and parrots.  More information on the organization, Inti Wara Yassi can be found here: https://intiwarayassi.org/index.php?id=488

My 14 year old daughter is with me as well, as she has been on this entire trip so far and my previous one as well.  She is my photographer and videographer – managing my equipment, schedule, and capturing the moments that I am too engrossed in working with to think about filming.  She has shot excellent footage of farmers, fields, meetings, and specializes in individual portraits of quinoa farmers – candid, un-posed, up-close and personal.  Her work was displayed in two gallery showings last year and will be featured in an upcoming book and film I will be making when I return to the US.

And now they are returning to the US.

Today we will continue our travels across the rainforest winding down even lower to the vast expanse of Santa Cruz, the “Miami of Bolivia” with sparkling new shopping malls filled with Gucci, Forever21, Calvin Klein, Justice, and Timberland.  “Chicken’s Kingdom,” a Bolivian fried chicken and french fries chain is the favorite here with 52,000 likes on its Facebook page and an active social media campaign across many platforms.  Santa Cruz is now the only city in Bolivia that American Airlines, the airline approved for use by Fulbright, flies to anymore.  They used to fly to the highland city of La Paz, but decided the 14,000 foot high airport in the middle of the rapidly growing city of El Alto was too high and dangerous to continue to land in. So for the first time in 15 years, I’m now traveling through Santa Cruz, coming and going from Bolivia.

On our way to Santa Cruz we will stop by my nephew’s home in Bulo Bulo where he has a week off from his job as a police sergeant in Villa Tunari and we can visit with his family and see their dairy farm for a moment.

It’s nice to take a respite from the quinoa work, to relax with family, have a refreshing weekend in the topics, swim in the pool, explore the river, watch the fisherman balance on three logs lashed together using a weighted net to catch small fish.  My quinoa friends are in touch on whatsap, facebook messenger, e-mail, my local cell phone number.  We have a month planed together as soon as my children leave for the US on Tuesday.  I will continue my work in Bolivia alone as they stay with their Bolivian dad in the US, enjoying their final month of summer vacation in the mountains of Vermont, swimming in the cool lakes and rivers there.

I am not Bolivian but my summer is the Bolivian winter.  I welcome it.  I enjoy the cool mornings, wrapped in blankets, ponchos, hats – the air crisp and clear.  It’s strangely comforting sleeping under a heavy load of wool blankets, never taking off your down-filled winter coat, welcoming the morning as a new adventure that has just been achieved.  We are rugged folk, us quinoa people.  Braving the altitudes, wind, cold and a world of tans and blues.  The barren windswept altiplano planes and the stark clear blue of the Andean sky, 14,000 feet up, where the once high cirrus clouds now seem to sit on your head.

My 14 year old nephew is with me now (a different nephew from the 40 year old police sergeant we are visiting with today).  It is his first time to ever leave the Oruro altiplano.  He is not a commercial quinoa farmer but he does care for the family’s llama herd and helps to plant and harvest highland potatoes, wheat and quinoa for the family’s own consumption.  Here in the tropics surrounded by lush vegetation, crops that grow wildly without even being planted, rivers teaming with fish, plenty of wood for cook fires, it’s easy living in shorts and t-shirts in an abundance of food, water and leisure.  I ask him as we are sipping coconut water from coconuts we found fallen from the trees if he would like to live here.  If he would like to stay in the easy warmth of the tropics.  We see the schoolkids playing in the streets and yards, hear them singing from their open classrooms, markets are filled with colorful fruits, stores piled with toys and colorful inflatables for the many hotel pools.  Around us is lots of new construction and growth – new roads, hotels, homes.  It is a time of prosperity after years of coca wars, and civil unrest.  My nephew looks around and shyly smiles, “no” he said. He explains he would miss his family, playing soccer in the highland canchas, and being in the mountains with the llamas.

It’s interesting.  That is what most of the quinoa farmers tell me too.  Most at some time in their lives have been to the topics, big cities and other areas of Bolivia, even living in those places for a few years, but always returning to the highlands because it is a place they love more.  The peace, tranquility, wide open spaces, fresh cool air, lack of contamination are all reasons people cite for staying in the quinoa lands.  Despite the cold, hardships, work and low wages, there is something more than money and need that brings and keeps them there.  Like my nephew, I am enjoying this tropical respite but am also looking forward to returning the highlands as well.

Day 18 – a short respite in Potosi City.

Day 18 – a short respite in Potosi City.

It is winter in the quinoa fields and schools and universities are closed for six weeks of vacation.  Quinoa families take this time to catch up on projects in the city, hold annual meetings, and visit with family in warmer climates. The countryside is left mostly empty.  There is not much work to be done other than maintaining the life there – cooking over artisanal stoves in small adobe houses, caring for any livestock one may have such as llamas, buying vegetables and household goods in far-away markets and bringing these purchases to the countryside – or eating the quinoa, dried llama meat, potatoes and grains that are stored in the houses, washing clothes by hand, repairing houses or tools and having inter-community soccer matches.

It is a quiet time in the small rural communities without many people there – except when there is a soccer match.  In the salt flats it’s like a mini-world cup as communities play against each other – the winners of one match going against the winners of another match.  The soccer ball flying wildly across the wide dusty “canchas” or soccer fields which are really just flat, dirt official size areas with goal posts at either end and white painted rocks marking the perimeters.  There is a referee, team uniforms, and local favorites. The games go on all day and there is lots of drinking and celebration.  The small quinoa communities are filled with family and college students coming in from the city for the games.  At these times, though the remote quinoa villages are full, not many people are interested in talking about quinoa and even worse, there is no real available housing as all rooms are taken up by visiting family and friends.  Public transportation is sparse with a single ancient rickety bus taking the 3 hour journey across the salt flats a few times a week, so an overnight stay for several nights is mandatory.  With no housing, no meetings, and no quinoa work, there was not much for me to do for my quinoa research.

Wondering what to do for the weekend we had planned to be in the quinoa fields, my daughter notices a bus with the sign “Potosi” in its window.  “What’s that?” she asked me, unfamiliar with the name Potosi.  Realizing it was an important city in the quinoa history and one that I did not know and had never visited in my 18 years of working in Bolivia, I saw an amazing opportunity to expand our knowledge of that part of Bolivia and have something to do that weekend.  So off we were to Potosi, a four hour ride through winding mountain roads and vast stretches of grazing llamas.

Potosi was once the largest populated city in the colonial world – with a larger population than Paris – due to the vast amounts of pure silver found in “cerro rico” the rich mountain, which rises above the city. We explored 500 year old churches beautifully hand carved by the indigenous Bolivian’s when the Spanish first arrived and began requiring them to perform work in the city to support the colonial development.  This was part of the “minta” system that dates back to pre-inca days.  In this system, all young workers are required to perform a certain amount of work a year for the good of the community.  Historically this might have been building roads, serving in the army, or growing extra crops for the government.  In the colonial era of Potosi, this was distorted into working in the mines and arts.  Indigenous people were required to serve a 4-month mint in the mine – which then was often extended to be 6 months, a year, or until they died which was often.  It was a time of vast exploitation of the local people and wealth for the foreign colonizers.

Quinoa was present but clandestine.  It was not valued or consumed by the foreign locals but it was always present in the rural households.

Though most of the art was copied from European artists or done in a European church style with white cherubs, maidens and brave men in distress – and remained unsigned – there was evidence of small amounts of “indigenousness” being snuck into the work and the culture.  This could be seen in the way blanketed babies were tied with hand woven belts, the presence of delicately made silver chicha drinking bowls (a native alcoholic drink), the presence of suns, moons and stars in the art – sacred symbols form the pre-Inca era, and the symbolism of Mother Mary juxtaposed with the silhouette of the Cerro Rico mountain and the Pachamama – indigenous earth mother.  All three forms intermixed in a display of abundance, nurture and giving.

We traveled deep into the mines and learned of the lifestyle of miners, separated from their land and thrown into a system of wage labor and purchased goods.  Their houses, food and all livelihood depended exclusively on the mine, mining company or cooperatives, and world prices of minerals.  They had no other source of income or livelihood other than the long, dangerous hours in the mine.  And hey owned no land.  The pay was good for the young people aged 15 to 21.  They currently earn 150Bs a day and make the value of two quintals of quinoa in a week (about $128 a week).  However, like all high performance athletes, the high salaries come at a high cost.  There is no health insurance or safety oversight in the mines.  All work is hand dug using sticks of dynamite to open possible veins of valuable mineral.  There is the possibility of a mine shaft collapsing and working conditions are dusty with little respiratory protection.  The mining here is done by several large, independently run cooperatives.  Often one works as a 150Bs a day laborer, hand sorting and carrying mineral out of the mines for sale, they can move up to be a 300Bs a day leader who is in charge of finding the veins and setting the dynamite charges.  This work is more dangerous and these workers only spend about two hours a day in the mines, leaving the clearing and sorting of the debris to the 150Bs a day workers.  These workers are work in 8-12 hours shifts.  After this comes the cooperative president. Mineral earnings are shared by the ones who find them and the cooperative.

Mining is important in my research because it exists on the fringes of the quinoa lands. In Salinas there is a mining company that is actively recruiting young quinoa growers from the village to leave their fields and work in in the mines.  This is disturbing to some in the village because mines contaminate the lands and could negatively impact quinoa production.  People are also concerned about the loss of the young growers and the tradition of growing quinoa.

Enzo had been approached by a mining company that day.  He was visibly upset as he explained the incident to me.  He had gone to town to see if any tourists were coming in on the bus.  While waiting in the plaza a man and a woman approached him.  She explained how easy her life was with her husband bringing in a steady mining salary and the man explained what was needed to join the mining company.  Enzo wanted no part in either and questioned the value of “easy living” lifestyle the woman was promoting.

Currently, less than 1% of the export quality Royal Quinoa growers work in mines.  The majority of these come from the Salinas region where one study found 3% of all quinoa growers also working as miners.

Next week I am presenting a marketing workshop in export quinoa – what it is and how it works in US markets – to the Poopo community of Oruro.  This is an interesting mining community where most miners also maintain their own lands near the mines.  Men’s mining income supplements the food the miners’ wives largely grow for their families.  The Poopo community is interested in learning how to grow quinoa as a supplemental cash crop.  Though they are not in the Royal Quinoa production zone, their smaller seed, “quinoa dulce” or sweet quinoa, could still have a market share.

Day 14 – Pregnant?  Drink Quinoa Milk!

Day 14 – Pregnant?  Drink Quinoa Milk!

In 2015 the European Community working with social investment organization Pro Bolivia run by Bolivia’s Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy and partner, Foundation FAUTAPO, a Bolivian foundation formed in 2005 with help from the Dutch embassy, helped open the world’s first quinoa processing plant here in Uyuni. Costing $160,000, the quinoa milk processing plant was 80% funded by the European Community and 20% funded through FAUTAPO.  The local quinoa growers cooperative, Central de Cooperativa Agropecuarias Operación Tierra (CECAOT), was chosen as the recipient of the plant.

Today the plant makes quinoa milk for the national pregnant and lactating moms program – providing organic quinoa milk to moms across the nation.  The first year of the program went well and the product in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, has been well received.  CECOAT just got its quinoa milk contract renewed with the national government for another year, proudly explained cooperative treasurer, Lourdes Ticona.  Today I am meeting with Ticona, the treasurer of this 280-member cooperative.  CECAOT is formed by 12 smaller cooperatives who each are members of CECOAT.  Founded in 1973, it is one of Bolivia’s oldest cooperative organizations.  It is managed by a 50-50 balance of men and women leaders.  Ticona herself is the daughter of quinoa growers and her father was a member of CECOAT.  Before being voted as Treasurer, Ticona spent three years working with micro-credit loans and worked 8 years at CECOAT as well.

The CECOAT quinoa milk contains many amino acids, mainly lysine, which in children, helps memory retention by multiplying brain cells, according to the US National Academy of Sciences.  Public schools in Bolivia provide this to children as part of their school breakfast – especially in the ColchaK region where much of the quinoa is grown.  The milk is essentially made with quinoa, sugar and colorants, explained Ticona.  It stays fresh in sealed packages for 15 days without refrigeration and 3 to 6 months with refrigeration. Costing just $.20 for a 50ml. pouch of milk, this is an affordable snack for Bolivia’s school children.  Many Bolivian mayors are contracting CECOAT’s quinoa milk this as part of their school breakfasts.  Besides making milk, CECOAT also makes quinoa bread, cookies and cakes.  In all, this consumes about 10-15% of their annual quinoa production, explained Ticona.  The rest is exported under Fair Trade and organic certificates which CECOAT manages with the strictest controls.  “It’s easy for us to manage our certificates,” explained Ticona, “working ins mall cooperatives we are able to verify all of the norms of production for each producer.”  CECOAT also have a team of ag. technicians who help with production and a Committee of Control with a Vice President who is a part of the CECOAT board.

I remembered several times, years ago, when CECOAT was struggling with its leadership and development. I asked Ticona about this and she agreed, CECOAT had gone through some rough times.  Working as a cooperative, she explained sometimes this happens. However, the cooperative structure demands that members work together.  In time leadership changed and now the organization is in a period of strength and growth.  They are hoping to close a deal on 8,000 quintals (661 US tons) of quinoa that they recently got a contract for from a Peruvian trade show.  They are waiting for the laboratory analysis to come back to confirm the organic nature of the quinoa.  CECOAT pays $3,000 a year for their organic certificate from IMO Cert.  Ticona feels confident their quinoa will come back with a clean laboratory review and will be accepted for the organic, Fair Trade quinoa contract.

Heading to Bolivia 

Sunset over Philadelphia

This time I’m traveling with my research partner, my 13 year old daughter, Musi.  I’ll be researching and homeschooling. My curriculum, a hybrid matching of middle school learning and Bolivian research was approved by the state of Vermont.  So her with her chrome book and I with my MacBook are headed out for a holiday summer adventure in the Andes.

 My goal is to explore more ways to use my phone for high quality, interactive field research – that can continue once I’m out of the field too. 

Musi’s goal is to improve her Spanish. 

Shared Leadership in the Andes

Shared Leadership in the Andes

royal-quinoaMy passport is brushed off, visa updated, flights confirmed, bags are getting packed, visits scheduled and in 10 short days, I’m off again – to the Bolivian Andes.  The theme of this Fulbright Scholar visit is: Shared Leadership in Action (or not).  Here I will be exploring a working case study of the development of the Royal Quinoa Mark of Denomination of Origin (DO) – amongst Bolivia NGOs, private industry, producer cooperatives, government agencies, and international institutions.

This is based on work my University of Massachusetts Isenberg School of Management students have been doing in my upper-level Social Entrepreneurship class.  We use the Sustainability Lens – an exciting new tool I created that is featured in my new book, Social Entrepreneurship as Sustainable Development, and works with the  Business Model Canvas – to build sustainability in any organization (through supply chain management, customer and employee relations, community development and more).

The Fair Trade 23 cents difference

The Fair Trade 23 cents difference

People ask what the difference is between Fair Trade and non-Fair Trade quinoa and the answer is 23 cents and a life.  This is the new dividing line between being a subsistence farmer barely covering costs and one making a living wage, earning on the average a little more than a hundred dollars a month.  Last year, all quinoa was $.92 a pound earning Bolivia’s once impoverished quinoa farmers a dignified wage and enabling their children to complete school ant attend college (quinoa prices had been growing steadily since 2007, so the improvements in farmer livelihoods was over time).  This year (2015), Peru flooded the world market with cheap agro-chemical, conventional quinoa, for the first time out-producing Bolivia and causing market prices to plummet.   Conventional farmers in Bolivia currently earn $.19 a pound for their quinoa which does not even cover the costs to produce it.  Certified organic farmers are earning  $.36  a pound and the Fair Trade price now stands at $.59.  That 23 cents is significant and represents the difference of a child going to to college, a sick family member visiting the doctor, good quality food to be purchased, or not.

The cost breakdown of bulk, organic, Bolivian  quinoa, distributed by UNFI and sold at the Brattleboro Food Co-op for $6.40.

The cost breakdown of bulk, organic, Bolivian quinoa, distributed by UNFI and sold at the Brattleboro Food Co-op for $6.40.

I have been continuing the study of quinoa here in the US:  working students at Mount Holyoke College to explore the consumer market for chips and students at UMass to author a white paper on how education reform and participatory democracy in Bolivia empowered producers to manage and control world quinoa markets.  I also have been sharing quinoa data with the general public.  One presentation was made this week at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, the place where this quinoa study began.  Our town of 15,000 consumed several thousands of pounds of Bolivian organic quinoa since January.  None of it Fair Trade.  When I asked the UNFI distributor who supplies the co-op’s organic bulk quinoa, why they did not carry Fair Trade quinoa, he replied that there was no demand for it and was not sure if there was a difference.  In May 2015 when I spoke to the distributor there was no real price difference, though now with the quinoa market crash, there is.  Please remember the difference 23 cents makes, and ask for Fair Trade quinoa.

Consumption of certified organic, Bolivian quinoa at the Brattleboro Food Co-op: Jan. - Nov. 2015

Consumption of certified organic, Bolivian quinoa at the Brattleboro Food Co-op: Jan. – Nov. 2015

 

 

Inclusion and commitment build freedom, Part I

Inclusion and commitment build freedom, Part I

Opportunities and Capabilities together build freedom.

Opportunities and Capabilities together build freedom.

Here’s the first part of  my HDCA presentation as a Capabilities Scholar.  Full academic paper to come in December.

Thesis: Inclusion and commitment build freedom. Freedom is necessary for sustainability.

Working definition of freedom (Sen, 2010): “Freedom to achieve things one has reason to value.”

Here is the introduction of my supply and demand model of the Capabilities Approach.  My argument here is that Opportunities and Capabilities can be both dependent and independent variables.  Opportunities are understood as things outside one’s immediate control such as market prices and access to goods and services.  Capabilities are things that can be individually obtained such as skills, physical mobility, and knowledge.  When opportunities and capabilities are in balance, then a degree of freedom is enjoyed.  If there is a drop in Opportunities such as a world market crash in quinoa prices than the equilibrium is lost and one moves to an area I labeled “deprivation” in accordance to Rawls‘ definition of the term.  In this model the variables can shift and Capabilities can impact ones access to freedom.  For example if one’s quinoa production is low, they have experienced a loss in capabilities.  The market prices are there (opportunities) buy one is unable to fully realize them.  When both opportunities and capabilities are grown together then a new level of freedom is achieved.  Freedom can be realized in many ways, economically, socially, personally, etc.

Day 73 – Did you know?

Day 73 – Did you know?

quinoa prices-org-conv

2015 was the first time prices differed in Bolivia between Fair Trade, organic and conventional quinoa.

quinoa retail breakdown

Quinoa has a relatively short supply chain usually with a single export buyer purchasing direct from the farmer. In this scenario, farmers can earn up to 27% of the final retail price.

From 2005 onward, Bolivia’s quinoa exports have enjoyed steadily raising market prices.  The downturn of the 2015 market has yet to make an impact on FOB since Bolivia mostly exports certified organic quinoa, which is holding a stronger price and the 2015 year has not yet ended.

From 2005 onward, Bolivia’s quinoa exports have enjoyed steadily raising market prices. The downturn of the 2015 market has yet to make an impact on FOB since Bolivia mostly exports certified organic quinoa, which is holding a stronger price and the 2015 year has not yet ended.

Though the base value of quinoa is rising as is the export price, the US consumer market has seen the greatest price increase.

Though the base value of quinoa is rising as is the export price, the US consumer market has seen the greatest price increase.