A project known as Banana21 commenced in 2005 to alleviate micronutrient deficiencies in Uganda and surrounding countries through the generation of farmer- and consumer-acceptable edible bananas with significantly increased fruit levels of PVA and iron. A genetic modification approach was adopted since bananas are recalcitrant to conventional breeding.
Based on the significant progress thus far, it is highly likely that the transgenic lines developed under Banana21 will be released by 2021 and have a significant impact in alleviating VAD in a sustainable way, especially in rural Uganda where bananas are a fundamental part of the culture.
The importance of banana as a food security crop (perennial nature, year-round production, and ability to cope with long periods of drought) associated with a low cost, farmer-driven distribution strategy should ultimately see “Golden bananas” adopted as a widespread and efficient VAD alleviating strategy in the next decade. Read more