The prickly pear cactus: A valuable plant of the future

Did you know that in October 2017, the United Nations (UN) published a strong plea for the cactus, specifically the prickly pear? Indeed, since it is a source of food and water during droughts, this organization extolled its virtues as to food and water forage.

"While most cacti are not edible, Opuntia species have much to offer, especially if treated as a crop and not as a weed," the FAO explained in a statement following research by a group of experts.

Thus, the cactus proved to be a fundamental source of food and water fodder for local people and their animals during the great drought that hit southern Madagascar in 2015.

In addition to being a source of food, the prickly pear cactus stores water in its branches, equivalent to a botanical well according to the FAO, or up to 180 tons of water per hectare. To give you an idea, this quantity of water is enough to water five adult cows in case of drought!