Quinoa for Wealth and Health: Integrating Nutrition in the Establishment of a Gender Focused Value Chain of Quinoa

Author(s): Grace Takomana
Final project
Year of publication:
Gender and Agriculture
Number of pages:
Supervisors: Pétur Waldorff


This project aims to break the cycle of subsistence farming poverty and malnutrition in Malawi. Currently in Malawi, children under five with stunted growth make up 37.1% of the population of that age, underweight is 11.7%, and wasting is 2.7% among children. This is largely caused by the inadequate, yet socially acceptable, diets of children under five which are composed of insufficient micro-nutrients and poor-quality protein. Added to this, most agriculture in Malawi is made up of small shareholder plots that are used for subsistence farming and most agricultural products to not make it to the market. The cycle of poverty is furthered by a lack of funds to buy agricultural inputs to better both diet and farming in Malawi. Introducing quinoa into farming communities will transform them from being predominantly poor and malnourished into being prosperous and well-nourished, while mitigating vulnerability to climate change and facilitating change of gender roles to eliminate disparities. Quinoa is a crop rich in quality proteins and of higher economic value compared to traditional Malawian crops. Through pilot testing under diverse natural circumstances in Malawi, it has proven to be resistant to climate changes, showing great potential in supplementing traditional Malawian crops. The project will impact farmers through product testing, training and outreach. Since subsistence farming and feeding families are primarily done by women, then project with greatly benefit local women farmers and their families.