Oluwabusayo Sotunde (writing as Busayo in Ventures Africa) tells us about a ‘special banana’ (Musa × paradisiaca) rich in alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. After eating those carotenes, the body converts them to Vitamin A. So they’re ‘provitamins’.
This new genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered) crop doesn’t seem to have an offical name yet, so I’ll nickname it Provit Banana. It confuses me a bit! Banana classification is quite complicated. I don’t yet know whether Provit Banana is a savoury plantain, familiar to many people as a staple food, or a dessert variety.
But as Busayo points out, the point of this GM is to improve children’s nutrition. In that sense, perhaps Provit Banana will become Africa’s answer to Golden Rice. Just now Provit Banana (developed in Australia) is about to start human trials in the United States.
[Edit] Some people think this GM banana is a very bad idea. I’m grateful to eqfe for showing me this article, in a comment on my post here. It does strike me that the Provit Banana project funding is largely from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is known to be strongly pro-GM, seeking a new Green Revolution in Africa, and not very supportive of biodiversity or food sovereignty.