Potential for domestication and commercialization of Hoodia and Opuntia species in Botswana
AbstractThe species Hoodia (Apocynaceae) and Opuntia (prickly pear) (Cactaceae) are highly efficient in water use and belong to the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) group of plants. These plant species are quite abundant in Botswana especially in the Kalahari Desert, prickly pear being the most dominant even though they have received very little commercial attention in the country. Elsewhere in the world, prickly pear has multiple uses such as their utilisation in the pharmaceutical industry, as a source of food and drink for animals in the rural communities, and are important in the weaving and clothing
industry. Other important uses of the species are manufacturing of paper, making of toothpicks, needles, pins and for numerous essential products. Recently the world has been introduced to Hoodia
gordonii or curorri that works as a natural appetite suppressant. This paper reviews the potential uses of Opuntia and Hoodia spp, identifies the important species used by communities in Botswana and
recommends protocols and instruments for research, cultivation, and commercialization of these species in the country.