In the restaurant La Cuca, Amanda channels, never missing in the menu a dish of quinoa. This ancient grain is offered as a side dish, mixed with lentils, salads and desserts. Even those who come to the site, located in the village of San Pedro de Alcántara, in the commune of walls, have the chance to taste a bread made with a mixture of white flour and quinoa. Another novelty is the malt of barley with quinoa flour.
The Cuca is one of 15 commercial establishments of walls that signed a cooperation agreement with the municipality of the commune to promote the consumption of quinoa. This agreement is part of a voluntary Ordinance that enacted the municipality and which considers the delivery of a hallmark to restaurants that include a quinoa dish on their menu. Thus, walls is the first commune in the country in having a food Ordinance.
Francisco Fuentes, Member of the QuinoaLab UC research team, has that along with the peasant cooperative Cooproquinua – users of INDAP – are developing a funded project for innovation and sustainable production of grain in the region dry, by FIA, and that in this context arose this Ordinance. «So – added – it was decided to distinguish with a seal to commercial establishments which help to encourage the consumption of quinoa».
«We met with the owners of restaurants and with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and they found the idea interesting. Most locals already prepared dishes with quinoa, but the idea was to formalize it, creating a seal. Hence arise the initiative that the municipality enacted a voluntary Ordinance», said sources.
This voluntary Ordinance was enacted in April last year, during quinoa Expo organized by the municipality of walls, and at the end of February this year took delivery of the stamps to the restaurants that have signed the Convention.
According to sources, the hallmarks to the attention of the visitors: «Paredones people know that restaurant offers dishes with quinoa and now also the tourists know that on the menu there are dishes with this grain produced in the area». He adds that it is intended to replicate the initiative in the commune of Pichilemu, where also produced quinoa.
A product identity
Amanda channels says that 50 years ago has the restaurant La Cuca in San Pedro de Alcántara, business that began with her husband, now deceased. Today support one of his six sons, Salvatore Urzúa, who notes that «walls is identified very much with the quinoa» and that therefore the premises of his mother and others of the commune were introducing menu preparations with this grain, with good customer acceptance , many of which are tourists who go to the coastal zone.
«Now, with this seal, we expect further increase consumption of quinoa, a food that has a high nutritional value», says enthusiastic Amanda channels.
For FIA, Álvaro Eyzaguirre, executive director the municipal Ordinance of walls «is a pioneering initiative and constitutes a virtuous chain of short commercialisation circuits. By integrating the primary producer in local value chains resolves a critical issue of market access that affects national quinoa. As institution want to strengthen productive partnerships in the agricultural sector, but incorporating mechanisms of partnership and collaboration between small farmers and local stakeholders to encourage a modern cooperative as he develops Cooproquinua».
Juan García, director of INDAP O’Higgins, says that the work done by the whole of actors related to the quinoa in walls and in the region «is reflection of a joint, synergistic, organized effort».
He added that services in the agricultural sector and municipalities must focus now on come up with these products to other markets and increase marketing channels. «Today is the quinoa; tomorrow may be the lamb. That is the challenge that put us President Piñera and we are proud to go to reaching goals with each product and associative groups of farmers».
The Secretary of the Ministry of agriculture, Joaquín Arriagada, was enthusiastic about this initiative, since «INDAP and Sercotec have been doing a tremendous job to deliver tools that allow farmers to strengthen its business and improve its production, promoting the associativity and cooperatives, which, we believe, is the future of agriculture in our country. «We are generating a synergy which we hope will begin to replicate».