Quinua is the staple of the Peruvian diet because Peru is largely barren and impoverished and it's about the only thing that will grow there and produce nutritional value.
The "fair trade" idea is that we pay the poor Peruvian farmers a "fair trade" price (i.e. - what it would've cost to produce quinoa in the US) and this helps the Peruvian people out of poverty by giving them more money.
I get the whole idea with "fair trade" products... it's supposed to work kind of like "trickle-down" economics. (But anyone with an IQ above a press-on nail knows that "trickle-down" economics doesn't work.)
I've traveled there extensively and what really happens is a few farmers make some decent money, but no longer want to sell their products to the locals because they can make so much more money selling them to Americans.
As a result, the locals can no longer afford to feed themselves. And they're starving.
This is the same story over and over for almost any "fair trade" food product unless there are specific government regulations in the country that require a certain amount of the product be set aside at affordable prices for the locals. (Coffee isn't as bad because that doesn't provide nutritional sustenance where as quinoa is causing people to starve to death.)
I realize that many believe in "survival of the fittest", but I believe that being a country with first world luxury comes with first world responsibility and understanding the impact of our actions on others.
So, I'll just post this over here as food for thought the next time anyone's looking at making a "fair trade" purchase.