Bernard Mutiko

Kenya Opuntia monocantha

Bernard Mutiko is a farmer from Machakos in Kenya. He has a small farm where he keeps a few livestock.

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The problem

Bernard planted the Opuntia on his land 30 years ago after someone told him it was a good natural fence. He didn’t realise it would become such a problem. The invasive cactus is now out of control, aggressively encroaching on his home. He has to get farm workers to uproot the weed, because unless he continues to remove the cactus, it will take over his farm. His chickens are eaten by predators that hide in the Opuntia and the costs of cutting the cactus back, along with livestock losses, has cost him close to 100,000 shillings (more than US$1,000) over the years.


  • Loss of land
  • Time, money and effort to control
  • Loss of livestock
Bernard Mutiko Bernard Mutiko

Affected by:

Opuntia Preferred Scientific Name: Opuntia stricta
Opuntia Cactus Opuntia Cactus

Opuntia (Opuntia stricta) was introduced to Africa and Australia as an ornamental plant. It has since spread throughout these continents and many more countries worldwide. The horticultural trade has been blamed for the spread as it is often imported for gardens and displays.


Further reading

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