LANZHOU, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Quinoa, popular across the world, especially among those hoping to lose weight, is being widely cultivated in Yongchang County, northwest China's Gansu Province.
Around 700 hectares have been planted and in about four months, the quinoa will be processed and transported to the markets in Beijing, Shanghai and Lanzhou.
Originating in South America, quinoa is rich in protein, amino acids and minerals. It is recommended by fitness enthusiasts due to its low calories and rich nutrition.
But for Chen Yonghong, a farmer at Yongchang County, quinoa's main attraction is the money it makes for him. In 2017, Chen transfered 2.7 hectares of barley to quinoa.
"I earned almost 30,000 yuan (about 7,30 U.S. dollars) in 2017," Chen said. "Twice as much as I would from barley."
The best business in autumn when tourists come to enjoy the splash of red quinoa in the Gobi.
Quinoa has great drought tolerance making it a perfect crop for dry areas seeking agricultural structure transformation. More than 15,000 yuan excess can be made from 1 hectare of quinoa.
In 2010, Gansu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (GAAS) introduced quinoa from South America since it has tolerances of cold, drought, salinity and alkali. In 2011, a new variety was developed more suitable for local cultivation: "Long Quinoa." "Long" is the abbreviation of Gansu.
"Long Quinoa" has been planted on about 700 hectares in Yongchang County since 2016. The county can process 12,000 tonnes a year, thanks to imported equipment.
The local enterprises have extended the industrial chain and produced quinoa tea and quinoa wine with annual sales of 30 million yuan.
Gansu Province now has about 6,700 hectares of quinoa. The GAAS plans to take "Long Quinoa" on a global journey.