This article analyses several possibilities to valorize prickly pear farming in Algeria, a context dominated by semi-arid ecosystems. It uses sociotechnical and evolutionary approaches in order to understand the new dynamics happening within this sector. Based on field surveys and literature review, this study shows that the production and processing of prickly pear by-products present a high potential, but remains largely under-exploited. Production is mostly artisanal, collection uses traditional practices and marketing is dominated by unstructured and informal channels. The development of processing activities is fairly recent and its dynamic reflects the high interest for this emerging sector by adopting certain practices already observed elsewhere. Finally, an important constraint is foreign market entry. Due to the partial failure of producer’s commercial export strategies’, local outlets remain dominant.