Photo credit: Confraria do Figo da Índia
Opuntias in Somalia!:
I have created a Facebook group called “OPUNTIA AMBASSADORS” :
“Any person, young and old, wanting to contribute to the improvement of our environment and to the production of edible plants by planting pads of edible spineless cacti is hereby invited to become a member of the OPUNTIA AMBASSADORS group. We want to promote the growing of the spineless variety of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis).“
Recently I received a message from Nelson Ventura who shared a Confraria do Figo da Índia‘s post, showing people in Somalia planting the prickly pear cactus on sand dunes, thus protecting the dunes from wind erosion.
We know that the spiny variety of the prickly pear can be a real nuisance, an invasive species, difficult to destroy. But that negative aspect is not valid for the spineless variety (var. inermis). Thousands of hectares of these spineless cacti are grown in huge plantations in Central- and South America, where people enjoy very much the “nopales” (see Google). Why should people in Africa or Asia not enjoy the same “edible” plants?
It looks like a fantastic technique to protect the soil. I am tempted to recommend this method to all the countries suffering from this global erosion problem.