by Gbenga Adeyemi
Some days ago, at a conference in Ibadan, statements were made to the effect that the popular delicacy known as ponmo may become rare as the days go by due to its regulation by the government because of the high potential of foreign exchange from hides and leather. The statements were made by Nigeria’s Agricultural Minister and there has been an uproar on Twitter.
The truth is that most Nigerians are heavily into eating ponmo. You can please argue about the nutritional value in your minds but since most Nigerians still survive on less than a dollar a day, it has become the de facto replacement for meat and fish and eggs. Whether it replaces it sufficiently is different, it is cheaper and therefore more available.
Regulating ponmo will bring about a scarcity that will alter the eating style of most Nigerians. The foreign top dollar that the Minister had in mind when this was proposed will also not bring in as high a yield as they thought. The resultant effect? More broke farmers and more disgruntled Nigerians since the money is not coming in and the ponmo is not being eaten.
I know that there are probably more nutritious substitutes to ponmo but who has time to go and be looking for that now and going vegetarian is totally out of it. The government should think things through before suggesting such in public. I hope some butchers have not started hoarding it already in the hope of making a killing when it finally comes into effect. We may think that is not possible but when you remember that some filling stations hoard fuel just to be able to sell at #100 to black marketers. And yes, it is possible to store ponmo for weeks by drying it out and soaking it when it is needed.
The government should think things through before suggesting such in public. I hope some butchers have not started hoarding it already in the hope of making a killing when it finally comes into effect.
Anyway, I hope this is not taking effect any time soon. Until then, Iya Mariam must continue to sell me one ponmo and one meat on top of my rice, every morning.
Gbenga Adeyemi is so many things including a Social Media Strategist, Thinker and generally likes to have fun. He can’t call himself a writer even though he writes and reads a lot too. He tweets from @GbengaDAdeyemi
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.