by Akan Ido
The days of widespread consumption of hides and skins popularly known as ponmo may be numbered going by statements made today in Ibadan, Oyo, by Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Agriculture minister.
Adesina who was speaking at the 3rd joint anniversary of Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN) and Nigeria Institute of Animal Science held at the University of Ibadan, called for competent regulations that would check the consumption and sale of the product.
The minister who was represented at the occasion by the Director, Animal Production and Husbandry in the Ministry, Dr. Ademola Raji, said regulating the sales and consumption of the product will increase the chances of making high dollar return if the hides and skins are tanned into leather.
He said, “I also commend NIAS for its advocacy and public enlightenment programs on Radio and Television that promote value addition in livestock, as against sale and consumption of primary products alone, particularly with the issue of curtailing the widespread consumption of hides and skins as ponmo which ought to be tanned into leather for a very high dollar return to the farmer and Tanneries. I expect that competent regulations acceptable by all stakeholders will be developed so as to give credibility that our set standards for food safety are being implemented which will boost value addition.”
The minister touted the achievements of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in the area of agriculture saying there has been a revolution in rice production and processing; in cassava, sorghum and cotton that have increased output per hectare.
He added that food production rose in 2013 by 8 million metric tonnes over 2012 figures which represents over 70% growth of the target set for 2015 by government.
“In 2012, 264,000 hectares of dry season paddy rice cultivated in the Northern states alone yielded 1.1 million metric tonnes,” he added.
Speaking earlier, NIAS President, Professor Placid Njoku, applauded the Federal government for tackling the deadly Ebola virus disease, noting that the institute would encourage its members to undertake visionary studies aimed at producing popular bush meat in the country in “intensive, hygienic and Ebola disease free environment.”