Puffed rice makers in Kalihati of Tangail are passing busy time now as its demand becomes high during the fasting month.
Sources said the homemade puffed rice of Kalihati is extraordinary. The demand for puffed rice is all year round but it increases during Ramadan.
Masud Talukder, chairman of Narandia union council of the upazila, said there are about 1,200 Hindu community people in the union. Many of them are engaged in the puffed rice business.
The housewives of the union are passing busy times making the rice. They are supplying it to different districts. But, they are frustrated over the investment crisis and price hike of raw materials. Besides, they cannot survive fighting with the machine-made puffed rice.
The handmade puffed rice is made at Narandia, Nagarbari, Daulatpur and Luhuri villages in the upazila. About 500 families in the villages are earning their livelihoods by making puffed rice. The male members of the families market the product while the female members make it.
At least 300 maunds of puffed rice are made in the villages per day.
After a visit, it was found that some housewives are making puffed rice while some are separating sand from the puffed rice, and some are filling sacks with the puffed rice.
The local traders supply the puffed rice to different places in the country with pickup vans.
Bonna Karmokar of Daulatpur Village said It is hard to make puffer rice by hand.
“We make the puffed rice from 3 am till 8 am. The taste and demand for handmade puffed rice are different. 4 kg muri are sold at Tk 400, “she added.
Gopal Chandra of the village said, "We are engaged in this profession by birth. I maintain my family by selling puffed rice."
Maloti Rani said, "We collect paddy for making puffed rice before 20 to 25 days. The frying process is started before one or two days of Ramadan.”
Deepali, Diva Rani, Mahant, Kanti and Lipi said they start making puffed rice in the early morning. It is expensive to make puffed rice manually. Besides, the price of firewood and salt has increased. They said they are not getting any help from the government.
Puffed rice trader Alimul said he sells puffed rice to Dhaka after collecting from different houses. This puffed rice is chemical-free. Only salt and water are used in making it. So, its demand is high.
He said they will be able to run the business properly if the government gives little attention.