The Osun State Government has issued a warning to residents of the state to avoid the consumption of some harmful variants of cow skin locally known as “ponmo”.
State Commissioner for Agriculture, Adedayo Adewole, gave the warning in Osogbo during a stakeholders meeting with the state’s Ponmo Dealers Association organised by the Osun State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Adewole was represented by the Ministry’s Coordinating Director, Mrs Adegbemisola Fayoyin.
The commissioner noted that while some cow skins are harmful, others get damaged during processing.
He said, “Some of the ponmo have even spoiled during processing and were not supposed to be consumed yet some unscrupulous elements smuggled it to some markets in the state.
“We believe there are some intruders in the business that are fond of importing these bad Ponmo into the state which has to be stopped”, she said.
Also speaking during the meeting, the Director of the Veterinary Services Department, Dr (Mrs) Abosede Olatokun, noted that the state government would carefully inspect ponmo dealers as a way of addressing the situation.
Olatokun also noted that the dealers would be inspected as a body rather than as individuals.
The director also admonished members of the association to collaborate with government to keep the state safe from harmful ponmo.
The problem of processing
Findings by AgroNigeria reveal that many cow hide merchants, instead of going through the normal process, have adopted a rather unsafe method.
Usually, ponmo is derived from cow skin by subjecting the cow skin to heat or fire as a hair removal method.
However, in a bid to cut costs accrued from the use of cookers and or kind of fuel they use, many dealers have resorted to processing cow skin from bonfire made with disused tyres.
The tyres are made with harmful chemicals which leave a harmful residue in the hide after the hair-removal process.
Experts believe that the consumption of ponmo made this way could lead to serious health challenges.