Latin America

This Mexican company is making biofuel from cactus plants

A man works at his nopal cactus field in Nopaltepec, state of Mexico September 30, 2014. In the shadow of the massive El Popo volcano, cactus growers in Mexico are helping to revive an ancient dying tradition with the help of a tiny bug that feeds off the country's prickly pears. The humble cochineal insect once occupied a proud place in pre-Hispanic culture as a natural dye for clothes and art. But over the years synthetic colours and the bug's parasitic nature saw it lose favour with local farmers. But amidst worldwide demand for the bug that has come from unlikely sources such as Starbucks and fashionistas, growers of the bug are cashing in. Picture taken September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (MEXICO - Tags: SOCIETY AGRICULTURE BUSINESS TEXTILE EMPLOYMENT) - GM1EAA31UNR01

The common, unremarkable cactus, which is proving its worth in a different way. Image: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Sean Fleming
Senior Writer, Formative Content
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Latin AmericaEnergy TransitionAgriculture, Food and Beverage
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