Don’t go by the thrones of Cactus; it can provide food, water in the time of a climate crisis
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 01-Dec-2017

New York, December 1: While cactus is merely used for either home decorations or usually ignored, it may come to our help soon. Along with increasing rate of climate change, the impact of it on food sources is also increasing. Against this backdrop, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is urging communities around the world not to take the prickly cactus for granted.

“Climate change and the increasing risks of droughts are strong reasons to upgrade the humble cactus to the status of an essential crop in many areas,” said a specialist. Due to growing need for resilience in the face of drought, degraded soils, and higher temperatures, cultivation of cactus pear is slowly catching on.

Aside from providing food, cactus also stores water in its pads, providing up to 180 tonnes of water per hectare. Harvests in barley rise when cactus is grown alongside it as a soil-improving alley crop. Use of cactus in cattle diets reduces the production of methane in the guts of animals, especially cattle and other ruminants, thus contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Even during the recent intense drought in southern Madagascar, where the plant provided a crucial supply of food, forage, and water for local people and their animals. Even in some parts of the world, cactus’ culinary qualities have been a prominent feature including in Mexico as well as the Italian island of Sicily.