LA PAZ._ With the declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, the millenary grain has attracted great interest around the world, and will continue to do so with the announcement of the construction in Bolivia of the first quinoa milk plant.

With the declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, the millenary grain has attracted great interest around the world, and will continue to do so with the announcement of the construction in Bolivia of the first quinoa milk plant.Bolivia built the plant in the locality of Uyuni, in the Potosí region, in consultation with Peruvian experts and an investment of $146,500 by the European Union and the Fautapo Foundation.

The plant, which will initially produce 3,500 liters of three different flavors of milk (chocolate, strawberry and vanilla), has the capacity to gradually increase production to 4,800 liters.

The idea for the project was conceived during an event on Andean Grain Agroindustrial Processes held in 2012, thanks to an agreement between the National University of the Altiplano, Peru and Fautapo. A handcrafted machine for producing milk from quinoa –referred to as the “mechanical-cow”– was unveiled during that event.

The Pro-Bolivia company then gave the green light to the Fautapo Foundation to implement the initiative in Uyuni, one of the country’s largest quinoa growing regions.

Produced from extracts of the Bolivian variety of the grain known as royal quinoa, the milk is a healthy product rich in proteins and vitamins D and E. It is cholesterol and lactose-free.

With the declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, the millenary grain has attracted great interest around the world, and will continue to do so with the announcement of the construction in Bolivia of the first quinoa milk plant.It also contains other permitted additives such as sweetener, stabilizers, preservatives, flavoring and artificial colors. Compared to cow’s milk, the new product has a high content of minerals and mono-acids, especially lysine, which helps improve children’s memory by multiplying brain cells.

According to Pro Bolivia director Óscar Alcaraz, the initiative will benefit 283 families in Uyuni who currently export the precious grain to Europe andthe United States. The first production will be supplied to schools in neighboring communities to provide breakfast for some 5,000 children.

Alcaraz admitted that the product is not yet in great demand, but he hopes it will eventually form part of Bolivians’ diet.

There are more than 3,000 varieties of the grain in the world including white, red, black, and green quinoa, but the Bolivian variety is the most sought-after because it complies with all the requirements for organic products.

The main staple of ancient civilizations from the Andean altiplano (high plain), this millenary grain is the only food rich in essential amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, gluten-free and with a highm content of minerals.

Several scientific studies have proven quinoa to be effective in treating osteoporosis and breast cancer.

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