Despite the tremendous achievements, the problem of food and nutrition security remains a key main health and development issue in Ethiopia. On the other hand, Ethiopia is experiencing a diverse climate change whereby several parts are suffering from drought, unreliable rainfall patterns and soil erosions. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd.), nutritious and drought tolerant crop, suggested as a viable alternative for food insecure countries facing increasingly climate challenges and set to feed their growing population. Quinoa cv. Titicaca was introduced to Ethiopia by Dan Church Aid Ethiopia in collaboration with Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. After evaluation of the crop at research station and farmer field, the cultivar registered as a variety in the country. However, demonstration and popularization of the variety is not receiving enough attention by researchers and agricultural extension experts. This review summarizes the potential of quinoa as a sustainable food source to Ethiopian community. It provides an overview of nutritional quality, health benefits and adaptation potential of quinoa in comparison to other common cereals in the country, including tef, maize, wheat, barley, sorghum, rice and finger millet. The review has shown that protein, fat, total mineral content of quinoa was greater than all common cereals in Ethiopia. Ca, Mg, Fe, Cu and Zn content of quinoa was comparable with tef and higher than other cereals. The bitterness, caused by high saponin content, identified as an important factor reducing sensory acceptability of quinoa in Ethiopian consumers. Therefore, research is required to develop processing methods and adapt sweet varieties with very low saponin contents. More efforts will also be needed to raise awareness among researchers, extension experts, development agents and farmers for the incorporation of quinoa in the cultural, social and dietary habits, and then to create market demand.
Keywords: Quinoa, food security, nutrition security, Ethiopia