Abstract Hibiscus ovalifolius (dhokala), a wild plant, is available in considerable quantity in Africa, Ceylon, Pakistan (Sind) and India. The plant is used by villagers as a fuel for cooking. The dry plant contains about 11% fibre of good quality, which may be separated before burning the stem. A study was conducted to determine the quantity and quality of fibre available and develop the techniques for its utilization in rural industries. The study showed that the length, fineness, strength and ease of extraction make the fibres suitable for the preparation of ropes and mats at village level. Economic analysis shows that a person can earn Rs 19·35 per day by preparing the ropes, or Rs 34·75 per day if he prepares mats.