Bio Fortification

Bio Fortification

Biofortification is the development of nutrient-rich crops using either conventional or modern biotechnology approaches. Biotechnology is preferred over conventional breeding because it is faster, avoids massive changes in crop attributes and is the only approach available for enhancing the nutritional quality of sterile commercial banana cultivars.

NARO in collaboration with partners has been developing pro-vitamin A enriched cooking bananas to alleviate the problem of vitamin A deficiency (VAD). More than 3 out of 10 Ugandan children below 5 years of age are afflicted VAD and associated health complications. Even a greater proportion of women of child-bearing age are affected.

The aim of this project is to alleviate Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in Uganda through biofortification of a major staple food crop, banana.

Consequently, a phytoene synthase (MtPsy2a) gene isolated from a high pro-vitamin A-accumulating banana called Asupina was introduced into two Ugandan cooking bananas: Hybrid M9 and Nakitembe. More than 500 different banana lines containing the gene were assessed at a confined field trial (CFT) at Kawanda from 2014 to 2018. Based on yield performance, beta carotene equivalents (BCE) levels and molecular integrity, twelve elite lines were selected for final evaluation at different environments around the country.  Planted M9 in October 2019, and Nakitembe in February 2020.

Multi-location confined field trails are established in 4 sites across the country, which include:  Kawanda (1), Mbarara (2), Bulindi (3) and Buginyanya (4).

A map showing the multi-location confined field trials established in 4 sites across the country.

Quality control and assurance mechanisms
  • Ensure constant update and backup the BananaTracker and MusaBase, physically and iCloud-based.
  • Have developed and applied line specific PCRs in the greenhouse and field early after planting.
  • Have developed and applied a barcode-based electronic data collection system.
  • Develop and update SOPs for all laboratory and field procedures and processes.
  • Ensure continuous training of all staff in biotech stewardship, risk assessment and regulation.
National Banana Research Program (NBRP) is a program under the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) with mandate to develop and promote technologies for enhancing the contribution of banana value chains for food security & Agro - Industrialisation.
+256 414 699 242 / +256 414 661977
Email: or
National Banana Research Program is located
National Agricultural Research Laboratories
(NARL) - Kawanda
P.O. Box 7065,
Kampala along Bombo – Gulu road.
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