Women from several villages of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha are profiting from making puffed rice. Popular as Baripada ‘mudhi’, puffed rice’s demand has sky-rocketed in Odisha.

After losing a large part of their business in agriculture post the flood in the Subarnarekha river, women resolved to work as traditional mudhi-makers to become financially independent. They found it more self-reliant than running after jobs, reported The New Indian Express.

They sell around 80 to 90 quintals of puffed rice every month

Women are making mudhi for over a decade-and-a-half. A few underprivileged women started making puffed rice in 2001. Then they started selling it through a self-help group and soon formed the Mayurbhanj Mudhi Association (MMA). Today, around 130 women are part of the association and they make mudhi-making quite a productive business. They sell around 80 to 90 quintals of ‘mudhi’ every month.

With the increase in demand for mudhi, farmers are growing more rice to meet the demands. Now the prices have also gone up from Rs 140 per bag to Rs 150, said Anup Kumar Behera, volunteer for the SHG’s operation. He also told TNIE that the rural market consumes 60% of the produce. The balance is sent to the rest to the rest of the country.

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The cooperative incorporates several strategies to enhance its market linkages, said MMA secretary Kabita Behera. She added that MMA exports its surplus to West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Mumbai while selling it in the weekly market.

This is a sign of women’s empowerment through ownership. They have stuck to this profession for a little under two decades. Not just that, they also inspire other women to take it up. We need more such associations in other rural parts of the country.

Pic: Quora

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