Upgrading the cactus pear from a weed run wild to an essential crop

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), cactus pear should be considered as a valuable asset, especially for food and livestock feed in dryland areas. FAO gathered cactus pear experts to pool their knowledge in a bid to help farmers and policymakers make more strategic and efficient use of this natural resource.

During the recent intense drought in southern Madagascar, cactus proved a crucial supply of food, forage, and water for local people and their animals. The same area had once suffered a severe famine as the result of efforts to eradicate the plant, which some saw as a worthless invasive species. It was quickly reintroduced.

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