Professor Emevwo Biakolo of The School of Media
In September 2014, it was reported that the federal government planned to ban the consumption of ponmo (cow hide), however, the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, refuted the rumours, saying the government only intended to develop the leather industry… and as such, cow hide will be a bit less available for consumption.
However, 5 months later, in spite of steps taken to develop the leather industry, the good old ponmo still remains in circulation, affordable as ever, and Nigerians are still consuming it with so much glee.
From the unwavering consumer loyalty commanded by ponmo, it becomes apparent that even if the leather industry is to be developed, it will hardly be at the expense of ponmo.
Bottom-line therefore remains that; the federal government can go ahead to develop the leather industry, however, it should have the mindset that ponmo consumption will exist side-by-side with the industry.
Basically, it will be a case of two industries; ‘leather and ponmo eating’, will benefit from the same raw material. As it stands, the only way Nigerians can stop eating ponmo, is if it is medically proven to be harmful.