Signing the project agreement between UNALM and UTU

The news web site of Universidad Nacional Agraria la Molina, Gaceta Molinera, published an article about the opening ceremony of the project and about the first activities. The Ambassador of Finland to Peru, Mr. Mika Koskinen, attended the ceremony, as did the Rector of UNALM, PhD. Enrique Florez.

The first futures workshops had participants from a wide range of organizations working in food and agriculture sector in Peru, such as National Institute of Agrarian Innovations, Ministry of Agriculture, CONCYTEC (National Council of Science, technology and technological Innovation), as well as private sector companies.

The full article can be read here (only in Spanish): http://www.lamolina.edu.pe/Gaceta/edicion2017/notas/nota314.htm

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Project kick-off

At the end of August we had the PECOLO project’s kick-off week in Finland with the project partners from Peru and Colombia. During the week we had, in addition to project planning in Helsinki and Turku, time to visit some companies and take our guests to a Finnish sauna and swimming in the Baltic sea.

We ended the week with a kick-off dinner attended by the Embassies of Peru and Colombia in Finland, and by the ambassador of Finland to Peru as well as the Charge d’affaires of Finland in Colombia.

Kick-off dinner at the surplus food restaurant Loop. The restaurant ‘s business model is based on circular economy and it uses surplus food of producers and super markets as its main ingredient.

One of the company visits we made was to a Finnish quinoa farm! It is located in Lieto, outsido of the city of Turku, and is the only large scale quinoa farm in Finland with about 100 ha of quinoa.

Finnish quinoa.
Finnish quinoa in Lieto outside of Turku in August. By October it will have turned red and will be ready for harvest.
Colombians and Peruvians inspecting Finnish quinoa.

According to our Andean guests the quinoa grown in Finland has smaller grains than the Andean varieties and it remained unclear what the variety was called and where it originated from.  It was however interesting to see another Andean crop having found Finland! Potato, which us Finns is a find very typical Finnish food crop and quite central in our diet, is of course an Andean crop too, but after some 300 years of cultivating it in Finland we just don’t think about it as an exported crop anymore, whereas quinoa has found Finland and Europe just during the past years and has recently become a popular grain due to its nutritional values. Quinoa is an excellent example of a “new”  Andean crop that has found its way to the European plates and different types of food innovations based on quinoa can now be found at least in larger super markets with health products as well as in health food stores.

Hanna Lakkala

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