Micronutrient the consequences are long-term and profound. It is

Micronutrient deficiency is a serious public health
issue affecting 2 billion of the world’s population, especially in developing
or low-income countries impacting preschool children and pregnant women the
most (FAO,
2013). Micronutrient deficiency is also known as “hidden hunger”, as affected
people do not show immediate physical symptoms and the consequences are
long-term and profound. It is prevalent among the poor whose diets rely massively on a single source of starch-rich
but micronutrient-poor sources such as rice,
corn, cassava, bananas, potato, sorghum, taro and others. The most devastating micronutrient
deficiencies are the consequence of low or inadequate dietary intake of iron, vitamin
A, zinc and iodine.

To address these problems, food-based strategies are a
long-term approach: supplementation, dietary
diversification, food fortification, and biofortification. Supplementation and food fortification have been
successful, however, require consistent external supply. In addition, there is
a portion of populations in low-income countries who have restricted access to
the strategies due to a poor distribution channel and low buying power. Many of
them relying solely on own-grown or local produce. Therefore,
biofortification may present sustainable
alternative strategy to reach large number of the rural poor populations.

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In many
countries, bananas are the main staple food including Uganda where consumption
levels average 0.5 kg per person per day rising to around 1 kg per person per
day in some regions (Komarek, 2010; Smale and Tushemereirwe, 2007). As with many starchy staple foods, the staple
cultivars like East African highland banana (EAHB) (M. acuminata AAA-EA), Grand Nain and
Rasthali, which are low
in pro-vitamin A, iron and protein and, as a result, populations with banana
based diets manifests as high levels of vitamin A deficiency (VAD), iron
deficiency anaemia (IDA) in both children under 5 years and women of
childbearing age. This combination of micronutrient deficiencies with bananas
as the staple food is not restricted to only Uganda, but also occurs in the
highlands of Kenya and Tanzania as well as Burundi, Rwanda, eastern areas of
the Democratic Republic of Congo and also India.