26-11-2017 12:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
The prickly pear cactus is a wonder crop in times of climate change
The areas that are most affected by climate change face drought conditions and prickly pear cactus has come to the rescue of people as they help to alleviate hunger in dry regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.
On Friday, a book on the prickly pear cactus plant was launched. Experts said that as climate change brings erratic rainfall and prolonged droughts, countries should look to the cactus pear, which can grow in desert-like conditions. They said that its fruits and balloon shaped pads are food for humans and animals.
The book states that the seeds, fruits, and stem have high levels of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, hence it can be consumed as a highly nutritious food. Cactus pear plantations not only act as water reserve but also absorb carbon dioxide in arid and semi-arid regions.
Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, Jordan, Morocco and India are a few countries where the plant is cultivated. Jose Dubeux Jr., an associate professor at the University of Florida, said the cactus's high water content was ideal for animal consumption in dry areas and could help conserve scarce water sources for humans.
Another advantage of this plant is that it is easy to grow and takes roots from whatever it is that touches the soil.