The structural characteristics, economic performance and prospects for the Italian cactus pear industry


  • Giuseppe Timpanaro
  • Vera Teresa Foti


Economical indices, Multi-Sectoral Qualitative Analysis (MSQA), cactus pear and fruit supply chain.


This paper summarizes the results of a recent agro-economic survey of the Italian Cactus
pear industry to assess its structure and competitiveness. To this end, a search was
conducted to monitoring the production economics and market for Cactus pears (Opuntia
ficus indica) for ten years, carried out a rigorous analysis of a sample company local firms
chosen as a case study – using analyses of technical and economic efficiency - to be able to
define the structure and potential of the cactus pear industry. Cactus pear is a tropical and
subtropical crop important in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the
world. Multivariate analysis was applied to understanding the dynamics of the developmental
processes involved, the opportunities and threats to the industry and various industry expert
assessments were included, often used to construct territorial analysis models with a
systemic approach. The analysis shows that cactus pear sector plays a strategic role in areas
with a high ‘ruralness’ index where often the other fruits species don’t find suitable conditions
(especially for problem concerning water resources). In these contexts the cactus pear
cultivation has become particularly diffuse raising employment and creating income for the
primary sector and territory, encouraging the development of the local resources.





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