Traditional organic muri (puffed rice) producers at Goaldighi Krishnapur village in Natore Sadar upazila are passing busy time to produce the item as the popular item brings them good profit.
Around 350 families of the village under Dighapatia union in the upazila are now engaged in producing the traditional organic puffed rice to meet its increasing demand during the holy month of Ramadan.
Muri is taken as a common item during iftar in the month.
One of the muri producers Salma Begum, 34, of the village said both the male and female members of her family work together to produce the item.
Although it is a very hard working job, it brings them a handsome profit, she said.
“Earlier, we passed our days in hardship, but by producing organic muri now we are solvent enough,” another muri producer of the village Aleya Begum, 55, said.
Chemical-free and traditionally produced muri is tastier and more nutritious than the chemically treated one, she said, adding that there is a good demand of their produce.
“We can produce two maunds of muri in a day with a production cost of Tk 2,000 to Tk 2,200,” another muri producer Amzad Hossain, 45, said, adding that they sell the produce for Tk 4,000 to Tk 4,200 a maund to the wholesalers.
Most of the puffed rice producers take loan from different local NGOs or borrow the amount from local moneylenders at a high interest rate to manage capital for the business, Amzad said.
“Health conscious people prefer organic puffed rice as it is free from chemical contamination. Though the item is produced round the year, its demand increases during the Ramadan as it is a common iftar item,” said Abul Kalam, 30, of the village.
Locals said around 200 maunds of muri are being sold at Krishnapur Halsarak market every day and wholesalers from Dhaka, Rajshahi, Sirajganj, Tangail, Meherpur and Kushtia come to purchase the organic item.
A good number of muri producers have urged for the government support to continue their traditional business.
“We will arrange loan facilities for the small entrepreneurs in future to promote their puffed rice business,” said Dilruba Dipti, deputy director of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) in Natore.
Selim Hossain, 28, of the village said machine-made puffed rice of different brands and wrapped in attractive packets are occupying the market very fast.
Manually prepared muri is facing a huge challenge as machine-made muri of different brands has flooded the rural markets as well, Dighapatia Union Parishad Chairman Omar Sharif Chouhan said.