Cactus in Southern Tigray

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Current Status, Potential Use, Utilization and Threat

Throughout history human migrations have been accompanied by the movement of plant and animal population from one region to another.

This is especially true to cactus because Prickly pear cactus are the most widely spread out of their original ranges.

The cactus pear (Opuntia ficus indica) is expanding throughout Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia.

Its current status, use, potentials and threats were investigated at Tabia Kara Adi-shabo of Raya Azebo Wereda, using socio-economic survey and environmental analysis.

Knowledge and perception of farmers on the cactus pear was gathered through use of questionnaires and discussions with elders.

The study showed that, although the fertile Raya plain get more and more infested with cactus, no coordinated controlling attempt has so far been made.

It is concluded that the expansion of the cactus pear needs to be checked.

Nevertheless, it should be noted, that in the absence of reliable irrigation schemes to use the area, and under prevailing condition of insufficient and unreliable rain and recurrent drought, the benefit of cactus pear as food for humans and feed for livestock are tied to survival.

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