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Estudios sociales. Revista de alimentación contemporánea y desarrollo regional

versão On-line ISSN 2395-9169


BARCO-GAMARRA, María Teresa Del; FOLADORI, Guillermo  e  SOTO-ESQUIVEL, Roberto. The unsustainability of Bolivia’s quinoa production. Estud. soc. Rev. aliment. contemp. desarro. reg. [online]. 2019, vol.29, n.54, e19807.  Epub 06-Out-2020. ISSN 2395-9169.


To analyze the changes caused by the boom of quinoa prices in the Inter-salt flats region of the Bolivian Andean high plateau. Bolivia is main quinoa production zone, and the center of one of the most demanded varieties in the world market. This has been going through an important ecosystem and social transformation in the interval of a couple of decades. Its peculiarity lies in several related characteristics, among others. The food properties of the grain which has led it to reach a prominent place within the nutritive food movements; the process of re-population of the zone contrary to many other processes where mechanization depopulate; and, the relative ecosystemic monopoly of a certain varieties that has raised the expectation of considering quinoa within the criterion of food sovereignty.


Based on the concept of ecosystem function, quantitative and qualitative indicators were designed to analyze the results of three fieldworks, a comprehensive bibliographical review and the systematization of national and international statistics.


There is a trend towards unsustainability in the area. On one hand, crystallized by the contamination and deterioration of bodies of water and soil in an area of fragile ecological equilibrium. On the other hand, the emergence of new social conflicts centered on territory and land tenure.


The relatively short period of two decades does not allow to establishing if the erosion of soil and degradation of bodies of water are already irreversible.


The ecosystem changes in conjunction with socio-economic ones may be irreversible if a public policy with an integrated strategy does not come up.

Palavras-chave : regional development; quinoa; ecosystem functions; sustainability; Bolivia; food sovereignty; peasantry.

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