Some stakeholders in the agro business have appealed to the federal government to reconsider its proposed ban on ‘ponmo’, cowhide, a Nigerian delicacy that serves as cheaper substitute to meat.
The federal government had earlier in the week said it would place a ban on ponmo in a bid to save the country’s leather industry.
The announced has been generating reactions, with Monday Ubani, human rights lawyer, threatening to drag the government to court.
The stakeholders who spoke to Leadership Newspaper, appealed to the government to reconsider for the sake of the Nigerian masses.
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.
Silva told Leadership that 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 that 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.
Silva urged the federal government to rear more cattles 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.
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.
Mallam Farouk Hassan, a meat seller in Abuja said the ban of 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 that 20 years and I can tell you that ponmo is a life saver 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,” Hassan said.
Mrs Folashade Ajewole, a farmer, appealed to government to reconsider its stand and look into the issue closely.
“Banning of 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?” 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 the director general of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology, Zaria, Prof. Muhammad Yakubu, had spoken on the decision to ban ponmo.
Yakubu disclosed that the decision to ban ponmo was geared towards resuscitating the moribund 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 consumption of ponmo.