Palm Wine, a naturally fermented beverage drunk throughout West Africa
is produced from the oil of the palm tree: Elaeis guineensis.
It is an important resource in Sierra Leone. As you drive the roads into the Upper Provinces of Sierra Leone,
you are made aware of the presence of POYO (palm wine) for sale by a jug hanging from a tree.
Its hard to say when Palm Wine was first traded in Sierra Leone
but reports indicate palm wine was a vital product in the domestic economy of Coastal Sierra Leone by mid 17th Century.
Markets for Palm Wine on the Freetown Peninsula have existed since the 19th Century,
with trade continuing (and even flourishing) during the recent Civil War.
Palm Wine produced from the sap of Elaeis guineensis is an important nontimber forest product.
The trees are saved and cared for to maintain the Palm Wine industry, in addition, this provides the potential to help promote forest conservation efforts.
Personally, I’d have to say that Palm Wine is an acquired taste.
Some people LOVE it!
In the Movie: Blood Diamonds.
The lead character, Danny, drinks palm wine. In the movie, the character, Maddy, tries some and adversely reacts to the taste, but then has more as they share it.
A few years back, I tried Palm Wine at our beloved One Hut Village. I didn’t like it.
Watching Sanu enjoy this recent batch of Poyo,
I thought I’d give it another try as Sanu offers it to me.
And once again
the taste was not to my liking – at all!
But there are many who DO like it, and it stimulates the economy. Like in Kentucky, some like bourbon, others hate it; still and all, it stimulates the local economy. In a country as poor as Sierra Leone, anything to give someone an income allowing them to put food on the table is a good thing – regardless of how it taste!