The recently proposed ban on “ponmo”, a Nigerian delicacy that serves as a cheaper substitute for meat for the poor, has generated reactions from some stakeholders in agribusiness.
Ponmo is made from the hides and skins of domestic animals such as goats, sheep, and cows.
Imal Silva, agropreneur and advocate for sustainable agriculture, appealed to the federal government not to ban ponmo for the sake of the people that have made it their special delicacy.
Mr Silva said people above 40 years of age could not eat much of regular meat, as such ponmo was more ideal for them, and there were some tribes where ponmo was part of their delicacy.
“The government should not say because some people are making good money exporting hides and skins, then stop the poor people who also buy it to cook and eat,” he said.
Mr Silva urged the federal government to rear more cattle so that there would be enough to eat and export.
He also appealed to exporters of cow skin to partner with different stakeholders in the cattle business to use the opportunity to rear more cattle.
Mr Silva added that they should sell beef meat as well as hides and make more money from partnerships.
“There is also the need to look for more alternatives to cow skin, both animal and plant options,” he said.
Farouk Hassan, a meat seller in Abuja, said the ban on ponmo was not what the people needed.
“If you ban ponmo, what is the alternative for it that people can afford?
“I am a meat seller and I have been doing this business for more than 20 years and I can tell you that ponmo is a lifesaver for many homes.
“What we need is for government to make the environment safer so that farmers can go back to farms. This will also help animal rearing to improve,” Mr Hassan said.
Folashade Ajewole, a farmer, appealed to the government to reconsider its stand and look into the issue closely.
“Banning ponmo is not the problem, what will be the alternative to ponmo for the people, do we have industries that will use the cow skin for the various shoes and bags we need?” Mr Ajewole wondered.
“Government needs to make the environment safer, let more people rear cattle as this will help because there will be more cattle to go round for eating and exporting,” she said.
Recall that Professor Muhammad Yakubu, the Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology, Zaria, had spoken on the decision to ban ponmo.
Mr Yakubu disclosed that the decision to ban ponmo was geared towards resuscitating the moribond tanneries and leather industry in the country.
He said that the habit of eating animal skin, which had no nutritional value, should be stopped in order to save the industry and boost the nation’s economy.
The DG said the institute, in collaboration with stakeholders in the industry, would approach the National Assembly and state governments to bring out legislation banning the consumption of ponmo.