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Quinoa cultivation on the rise in Belgium

22:50 07/05/2015

The South American grain crop quinoa, cultivated last year for the first time on a limited scale in Wallonia, will this year grow on Flemish soil as well, reports The additional 20 hectares in Flanders bring the total area set aside for quinoa cultivation in Belgium up to 110 hectares, according to the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO).

In Zulte, East Flanders, on Thursday one hectare of quinoa was sown as part of contract farming for Quinobel, the Belgian representative in a project for the development of new quinoa varieties at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

"That acre is just one of the 110 hectares sown this year in Belgium, 20 hectares of which are in Flanders and the rest in Wallonia,” says ILVO spokeswoman Greet Riebbels. "That's a big difference from last year, when only 10 hectares were sown in Wallonia."

Quinoa is rapidly gaining popularity across Europe and North America as a high-protein, gluten-free food staple and alternative to traditional grain products.

Written by Robyn Boyle