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It is spiky, alien-looking and can be found decorating homes around the world, but experts say the prickly pear cactus could help alleviate hunger in arid regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.As climate change brings erratic rainfall and prolonged droughts, countries should look to the cactus pear, which can grow in desertlike conditions, experts said Friday at the launch of a book on the plant.Cactus pear plantations can function not only as a water reserve but also absorb carbon dioxide in arid and semiarid regions, it added.Jose Dubeux Jr., associate professor at the University of Florida, said the cactus' high water content was ideal for animal consumption in dry areas and could help conserve scarce water sources for humans.
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