Given the new possibilities that quinoa cultivation opens up for farmers and companies in the agricultural sector, Algosur has spent years investing in the research, production and marketing of this pseudocereal, since its introduction in the Lower Guadalquivir in 2007.
And it is that this superfood, native to the Andes, is drawing the attention of Mediterranean countries for its good adaptation to marginal soils and tolerance to drought, salinity and other abiotic stresses. In fact, Spain has become the main producer in Europe of this product which, due to its healthy properties, is also spreading at the level of consumption among the population.
In this sense, for three years and with the horizon set in the year 2031, the Sevillian agro-industrial group participates, through its R+D+i Department, in the international project Quinoa 4 Med (Q4M) de PRIMA. It is a non-profit association dedicated to financing initiatives that contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources, economic growth and stability in the Mediterranean.
Q4M, innovating in the cultivation of quinoa
Under Q4M, scientific partners and entities interested in this subsector from Spain, France, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, as well as a group of experts from Germany, meet with the aim of advancing in the improvement and optimization of quinoa agroecological crops from an integrated and systematic approach that enables greater profitability for farmers in different climatic and soil conditions.
For this, Algosur makes its research and production area available to the project. In this way, it can transfer the innovations obtained in the laboratory of its Vitrosur Lab division directly to the field through the ‘living labs’ that the R+D+i area allocates to this initiative, and which are part of the 12 sites international demonstration of Q4M. They are applying tests tending to:
- Develop multifunctional quinoa varieties that are better adapted to the type of terrain typical of the Mediterranean. Specifically, 250 accessions of this pseudocereal are being studied. Thus, professionals in the agricultural sector of each area can obtain seeds that are more resistant to climate change, that require the use of less fertilizers and pesticides, require reduced post-harvest processing, and can be grown sustainably.
- Establish networks for the valorization of zero residue in the cultivation of quinoa. In this sense, another of Algosur’s research points is the search for applications for quinoa residues, such as the creation of biochar, cosmetics or animal feed, allowing farmers to increase their income, while at the same time achieving the least environmental impact.
- Get gluten-free food products at an affordable price. With this purpose, Algosur contributes to improving people’s health, facilitating access to food suitable for celiacs, as well as opening new lines of business for farmers.
A project of international scope
In this challenge, the experts from Algosur’s R+D+i area –headed by Susana Vilariño- are not alone; They are part of an international platform in which nine prestigious institutions are present, coordinated by the University of Hohenheim (UHOH), in Germany.
Through the union and exchange of information between the project partners and thanks to the knowledge provided by other previous and complementary initiatives, Q4M will allow farmers and agricultural companies to use the quinoa varieties best adapted to their land. As a consequence, they will be able to diversify the current cultivation systems in order to stabilize the harvests, recover and/or enrich the soils and, in general, improve the production of their farms throughout the year and, therefore, their profitability. Without forgetting the impact that the progress of this project, in which Algosur participates, will have at the level of employment, the exchange of know-how and the fight against climate change.
Some advantages within reach of the agricultural sector
However, we will not have to wait until 2031 to enjoy the advantages of the advances in innovation of the Algosur R&D Department. The group also develops projects for the creation of “biofactories” based on the productive capacity desired by the client and with support at the beginning of the operation of the plantation.
This service allows professionals and agricultural companies to receive a “turnkey” facility ready to be exploited Once the group’s trained technicians have made an economic assessment of the investment, they have advised the client on the installation of the equipment and supervision of the civil works; they have provided training to staff and have examined and started the cultivation of quinoa on the specified land.