Mr Olufemi Aluko, of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) , Ile-Ife, says Nigeria is losing out in the pack of countries competing for the 75 billion dollar global leather industry because of ponmo consumption.
Aluko blamed the situation on the country’s neglect of the leather products industry in favour of oil production and consumption of its hides and skin as ponmo.
The don cited global industry report as confirming the situation urged the nation’s policy drivers to refocus on the sector as it holds great potential for export earning and employment.
“As we strive to diversify the nation’s economy I advised the Federal Government to create sound, supportive and transparent policies that will revive leather goods industries in Nigeria.”
Aluko said, “Nigerian leather goods businesses must develop procedures to ensure developed markets where products are compliant with environmental and social responsibility requirements as well as international satndards.’’
The lecturer explained that the formal leather goods industry had declined almost to extinction which could only be revived by transparent business policies.
He said that considerable hard work would be required by the public and private sectors in coordination for the sector to make considerable further progress but this is necessary as we refocus our economy and use of our abundant hides and skins for leather products rather than for consumption as `ponmo’.
“Nigeria is, globally, perhaps the most important exporter of light leather. The leather tanning sector has made remarkable progress in recent years as it has progressed from export of raw and wet blue leather to finished leather.’’
In spite of the fact that `Ponmo,’ a delicacy made from hides and skin has been popularised mostly by the people of the South West, it has no nutritional value, Miss Yemisi Olowookere, a Nutritionist at Garki Hospital General Hospital, Abuja, said.
“Its continous consumption has continued to generate concerns on its adverse effect on the tanning and leather industry in the country,’’ Olowookere said .
Olowookere said that Ponmo only appeals to the taste buds when properly prepared and has no nutritional benefits.
According to her, Ponmo, is basically cow skin that has been processed to look similar to beef which is sold in the markets and an important ingredient in the preparation of several stews in various cultures.
“Most Nigerians love Ponmo so much that some believe a good day meal is incomplete without It; Ponmo is a regular sight at parties and several public outings, served in different forms.
“It would be quite shocking for some people to know that Ponmo contains little or next to nothing in terms of nutritional value,’’ Olowookere said.