Little-known superfood could be a life saver for a warming world

It's a superfood you may never have heard of.

But enset, often described as a "banana on steroids," is a staple for millions of people in Ethiopia's Highlands.

Martha Daniel harvests the plant at her farm in Sidama Zone.

She uses it for food for her family, and sells the surplus at a nearby market.


"I will take pulp and bury it in a pit. Then I will mix it and knead it with my hands, it will be put together and sealed with leaves. After a while, it will turn into a pulp. It is taken from there and made ready for food in different forms. It can be baked like a flat bread or molded into a potato shaped roll of food. You can take along this food in a container when going on a journey."

While enset can be turned into bread and porridge, it's also used in construction materials, packaging, cattle feed, and medicine.

Scientists say the plant could be a lifesaver for a warming world, especially because it is drought tolerant.

But while enset has been successfully domesticated in Ethiopia, the plant grows wild in other parts of the region, all the way down to South Africa.

Scientists say they're now working on DNA-sequencing hundreds of these varieties and hope the plant could one day boost food security in other African countries.