Global food production is heavily dependent on just four crops: maize, wheat, rice, and soybean. This creates a risk of plant disease epidemics, as well as problems with nutrition and food allergies. Yet these four species continue to capture the vast majority of research funding for grain crops.
Quinoa is one of the most promising alternative grain crops. Quinoa is native to and still mainly grown in the Andes, but has a much larger potential as its cultivation is similar to wheat. Quinoa is more nutritious and more tolerant of adverse conditions than conventional grain crops, and has a growing global market, but little is known about how to achieve high yields in Africa. We are considering supporting a scientist working on adapting it to African conditions by testing different cultural practices.