Genetically modified bananas from Australia could stop thousands of Ugandan children from going blind and dying from Vitamin A deficiencies.
The genetically modified 'super-banana', which has increased levels of vitamin A, has been engineered by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology.
The fruit, grown near Innisfail, about 90km south of Cairns, is now on its way to Iowa State University in the US for further trials at a cost of $10 million, funded by the Gates Foundation.
Professor James Dale, who has been working with five Ugandan PhD students on the nine-year project, said about 70% of the Uganda population survive on bananas.
"The Highland or East African cooking banana, which is chopped and steamed, is a staple food of many East African nations, but it has low levels of micronutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A and iron," Professor Dale said.
"We're aiming to increase the level of pro-vitamin A to a minimum level of 20 micrograms per gram dry weight."
According to the World Health Organisation, Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness among children, especially in Africa.
If successful the super-banana could be growing in Uganda by 2020 and be transferred to other African countries such as Rwanda, and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania.