An example of a small-scale industry based on the harvest of wild palms is the production of 'vino de coyol' (palm sap wine) from Acrocomia mexicana (Arecaceae) in Honduras. Trees are selected, felled, and tapped by cutting a small trough into one section of the crownshaft. The sap is collected, bottled, allowed to ferment for 24 hours and sold. The resulting beverage contains 12.86% alcohol but has little nutritional value. Palm wine is also an alcoholic beverage consumed by rural people in Maputaland, Natal, South Africa. It is an important source of nicotinic acid and vitamin C. The small size and yield of the palms used to make the wine – Hyphaene coriacea and Phoenix reclinata – makes production very labour-intensive. Although palm wine tapping provided only subsistence income, it does provide more income than other forms of self-employment in marginal potential areas.
The basket weaving industry has recently been developed to provide income for the growing population in rural villages on the western margin of the Okavanga Swamps in northwestern Botswana. The change from subsistence to commercial exploitation of leaves of the vegetable ivory palm and of vegetable dyes for basket making has decimated palms and popular dye plants within a days walk from the villages. Unless the use of these plant resources is controlled they will be lost and the basket industry will collapse.
The booming herbal medicine trade in South Africa is a unique example of rural traders sidestepping restrictions and entering the urban cash economy. The success of the trade has resulted in the depletion of supplies of some of the most effective and popular medicinal plants.