Recommended: Use spineless Opuntia for soil erosion

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).

Planting the spineless Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis – 12715399_935545763200038_8914140578767221907_n.jpg

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.

This cactus is not only halting wind erosion, but produces edible pads (nopales) and pads that can be used as fodder, but also juicy fruits -12670270_935545789866702_728932352443869154_n

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?

Easy planting on a sand dune – 12717187_935545746533373_1181291879201400306_n


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.

Drought and food insecurity in Somalia

Photo credit: FAO

A displaced Somali in a settlement near Dhobley Town.

Somalia continues to face large-scale food insecurity compounded by poor rainfall and drought

38 percent of the population classified as acutely food insecure; 304,700 children acutely malnourished

A Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia (FSNAU) and Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) Technical Release

Somalia will continue to face large-scale food insecurity between now and June 2016 as a result of poor rainfall and drought conditions in several areas, trade disruptions, and a combination of protracted and new population displacements — all of which have been exacerbated by chronic poverty. Acute malnutrition remains high in many parts of the country.

The latest findings from a joint countrywide seasonal assessment by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU, a project managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), a project funded by USAID, indicate that 931,000 people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)* and 22,000 more people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) across Somalia through June 2016. Of the total number of people in Crisis and Emergency, internally displaced persons (IDPs) represent 68 percent, rural populations 26 percent, and urban populations 6 percent.

Approximately 3.7 million additional people across the country are classified as Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through mid-2016.

In total, the assessment reports that nearly 4.7 million people or 38 percent of the total population of Somalia are acutely food insecure and will be in need of humanitarian assistance between now and June 2016.

The assessment involved 39 separate nutrition surveys conducted from October to December 2016 by FSNAU and partners across Somalia.

Results from these surveys indicate that an estimated 304,700 children under the age of five were acutely malnourished at the time of the survey. This includes 58,300 children under the age of five that are severely malnourished and face increased risk of morbidity and death.

Read the full article: FAO

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