There is a wealth of knowledge and governments research on the amazing prickly pear cactus or nopal aka Opuntia on my facebook page
Below is a summary of how it can really help mankind in the drier parts of the world.
The amazing attributes of the tasty edible Spineless Nopal Cactus . Per acre it can provide up to 15,000 pounds of vegetable matter for human or cattle consumption and can survive with no rain for three years or more.
Has a large green nutritional pad that is used in cooking.
Has minerals and vitamins similar to green beans or Okra.
Can be made into flour.
Has a sweet juicy fruit (Tuna) also used in juices, candies, jams and syrups.
Can grow 8 to 20 feet tall on very marginal farmland and be planted for soil stabilization, hedges, windbreaks and prevent desertification. Is a very low maintenance perennial food crop.
Can produce methane for efficient fuel consumption.
Can be made into biodegradable plastic, leather or paper.
Can grow where trees would struggle to grow and is carbon negative nurse plant to other flora. Similar to Agar can be a mortar and whitewash binder or mosquito repellant.
Established production can help cattle and humans stay alive in times of extreme drought or famine, as well as be a year round food source for humans and cattle.
Is carbon negative and can be used as a hedge or firebreak barrier to wildfires.
Is probably the simplest food crop in the world to propagate and maintain.
Mexico has over 300,000 hectares of spineless Nopal cactus orchards.
The dry or hot countries of the world deeply need to integrate their decades of cactus food production expertise. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal In Mexico the main use for cultivated nopal is feed for livestock with 103,000 hectares (250,000 acres) designated to that purpose. After that, approximately 57,000 hectares (140,000 acres) are used to produce prickly pear fruit, 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) for the pads production for Mexican cuisine, and 100 hectares (250 acres) to cochineal dye production. In 1996 there were 10,300 hectares (25,000 acres) prickly pear farmers, as well as around 8000 general nopal farmers, with all of the people involved in the processing industries and in cochineal production, employing a significant number of the Mexican population and keeping them on the land.
The “Great Famine Buster” parts of the world sorely needs to learn about.
THE INCREDIBLE EDIBLE NOPAL CACTUS·FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2019·
If you live in a mostly warm climate and want to grow veggies that are drought tolerant. Then learn about the amazing edible cactus varieties. The biggest one is the Nopal cactus aka Opuntia or prickly pear. If prepared correctly and from a good tasting variety they can be truly delicious. And at the same time have a wonderful sweet fruit (Tuna).
Between 1907 and 1925, Luther Burbank introduced more that 60 varieties of spineless cacti. And now Mexico grows over 300,000 hectares of spineless nopal cactus for human and cattle consumption. One acre can produce 18,000 pounds of food. Though they don't know it they owe a huge debt of gratitude to this great man. Yet the rest of the arid world that has much marginal farmland not learnt from the genius of Mexican cuisine and culture via a harsh climate. The Nopal cactus is a solution to potential famine via severe drought conditions in the world and should be assertively pursued in India , Africa and other sub equatorial climates. By being grown on sub par agricultural land this is a real life solution to a potentially severe food shortage in the future. That is also excellent for the climate.
It grows so well in harsh climates, that I'm told that in some countries it's considered an invasive. The governments in such places go to great lengths trying to get rid of it, because it crowds out the native plants.