Journey Through Bangladesh
A staple for Iftaar, muri is the quintessential food of the holy month of Ramadan.
This is the story of one of its biggest production zones.
“This is the peak time of muri (puffed rice) production. The holy month of Ramadan is upon us and demand is excessive. Villagers have been manufacturing muri as their ancestral profession for the last 20 years. This village is also known as Murigram. Men and women from 10 different villages under the Malanchi Union are busy manufacturing muri,” said Abdus Subhan, a trader of spicy muri in Malanchi village.
During a recent survey it was seen that Mahamudpur, Natunpara, Jhabjhabia, Shempur, Bilkula, Gupinathpur, Gupinpur, Bhobanipur, Raghabpur and some other villages under Malanchi union are famous for manufacturing high quality spicy muri. Over 200 families are involved with muri production in these villages.
In an interview with Star Insight, Ms. Sharifa Khatun, a muri manufacturer of Malanchi village said, “We manufacture our muri by mixing salt and water with the rice, which is good for health. We fry the rice in clay pots in heated sand. This is the natural method of manufacturing muri, which is popular in these parts.”
The demand for local muri had increased in the month of Ramadan, and as a result the people in the neighbourhood were very busy. According to Sharifa, she had to work from dawn to dusk to meet the excessive demand of muri at the time. Over 500 women in some 200 families were then just as busy producing muri in these villages.
There were 3 electric husking machines set up to husk muri. At least 200 to 300 mounds were made every day in these villages in the peak season of Ramadan. According to the traders, the power crisis often disrupts the manufacturing of muri. One kilogram of muri was sold at a price ranging between Tk. 50 - 55. Wholesale traders would collect the muri from these villages and supply it to the capital during Ramadan.
A visit to the villages revealed that every muri trader in the village makes a profit of Tk. 5 from each kilogram. Abdus Subhan, a muri trader of Mahamudpur village said that he supplies 160 kilograms to Pabna every day, out of which 40 kilos are produced in his own house. There are about 50 traders in these villages like him, who sell over 500 mounds every day.
There are a few varieties of muri, for example Iri-11, Iri-29 and Aman Muri, all of which are sold in these villages. The prices vary between Tk. 50 and Tk 70, depending on the quality.
Muri trader Subhan claims that the price is reasonable based on the quality. Since no chemical is added, it is a healthy addition to everyone's diet.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009