BARIPADA:THE rising demand for puffed rice, known as Baripada ‘mudhi,’ has made it a cottage industry, which has provided livelihood to several villages in Mayurbhanj district.Sources said after repeated loss in agriculture due to flood in the Subarnarekha river, villagers of Tambakhuri under Rasgobindpur block, 50 km away from Baripada, adopted the traditional ‘mudhi-making’ profession to become self-reliant instead of running after jobs. In 2001, some poor and marginalised women of the village produced ‘mudhi’ and marketed it though a self-help group (SHG) Mayurbhanj Mudhi Association (MMA).
Around 130 women from the locality joined the association and have made puffed rice business lucrative. Their success story has inspired several others in the nearby villages. Now, around 80 to 90 quintals of ‘mudhi’ are being produced every month.
Some farmers even cultivate rice to meet the demand for ‘mudhi’. Price of ‘mudhi’ per bag has been increased from `140 to `150, said Anup Kumar Behera, who has been volunteering to monitor the SHG’s operation. He said the rural market is consuming approximately 60 per cent of the produce while the rest are exported to other towns and States.
MMA secretary Kabita Behera said the cooperative has been following several strategies for strengthening its market linkage. Apart from selling it in the weekly market, the bloated rice is being exported to West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Mumbai, she added.
With the support of the district administration and NGOs, they displayed the famous Baripada ‘mudhi’ during State and National level exhibitions and trade festivals. Though the SHG is running with a small workshop at Sangrami Mahila Mandal, it is has no adequate space to cater to the needs of their business. Earlier, they had urged a former collector to provide a government building for smooth functioning of the association. But so far, no action has been taken in this regard.