Orga Earth, a new cactus farming initiative, will create employment and sustainable income for thousands of people in southern Madagascar-

Groupe Filatex, a leading African energy company based in Madagascar, in partnership with Green Bird, today announces the launch of Orga Earth, a cactus farming initiative that will provide job opportunities and sustainable income for thousands of people based in southern Madagascar. The project has been enabled through a bridge loan provided by the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). Through its ‘Cactus for Life’ programme, Orga Earth aims to leave a positive and lasting legacy for local communities in southern Madagascar, providing infrastructure to fight against food insecurity, deforestation and to protect biodiversity in arid lands.

The projected investment over 5 years has been set at €1.25m, impacting more than 10 000 people in the South of Madagascar initially. 

Capitalizing on Southern Madagascar’s abundant cactus resources, Orga Earth aims to produce high-quality prickly pear oil, which has unique skincare benefits and is used in cosmetics globally, to support Madagascar’s economic growth and development. Communities will also later benefit from biogas, a biproduct, a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to natural gas and can be used for cooking. Orga Earth’s ‘Cactus for Life’ initiative is built on sustainable bioeconomic principles that will also ensure a stable and sustainable income for local populations which are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. 

Hasnaine Yavarhoussen, Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Filatex, said:

“At Groupe Filatex, we have made a firm commitment to contribute to the socio-economic development of Madagascar, through harnessing the country’s rich natural resources and talent to support sustainable development.

“Cactus farming represents an opportunity for local communities in southern Madagascar, especially in this tragic period of famine, to earn a constant income – cactus crops can be harvested all year round, their quality and quantity unaffected by seasonal weather changes. 

“Orga Earth compliments Groupe Filatex’s other corporate social responsibility and impact initiatives designed to improve the lives of Malagasy people through access to job opportunities and clean, renewable energy.”

Bertrand Reverdy, Chief Executive Officer of Orga Earth, said: 

“Orga Earth was born out of our desire to use Madagascar’s abundant natural resources for the benefit of local communities. In Madagascar, we are blessed with a unique ecosystem and tremendous biodiversity of which local communities are the gatekeepers. 

“Through our ‘Cactus for Life’ programme, Orga Earth aims to empower local communities in southern Madagascar. The initiative focuses on capacity building through technical training, as well as improving job opportunities, especially for Malagasy women.

“In the context of growing demand for cactus in the cosmetics industry, and while global supply remains limited, Orga Earth has the opportunity to become one of the leading suppliers of prickly pear oil to major cosmetics companies, ultimately creating thousands of jobs in the region.”