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General News of Sunday, 31 July 2011

Source: GNA

Brown Rice to raise the economic stakes of Avatime areas

Amedzofe, July 31, GNA-A brown rice specie, which is historically cultivated on the hills and plains of Avatime in the Volta Region, is to take the centre stage in an emerging aggressive bid to raise the economic fortunes of the area.

The chiefs and people of the area have consequently instituted an annual 93Rice Festival" to extol and plot the realization of that rice-l= ed economic turnabout.

This year's Avatime Amu (Rice) Festival, scheduled for November at Amedzofe was launched at Amedzofe on Saturday.

It will be celebrated on the theme, 93Socio Ecotourism: Expose for Development Through Rice Cultivation".

The rice fiesta, first marked last year at Vane, is to be hosted on rotational basis by the seven major communities in the area. The other communities are Gbadzeme, Biakpa, Dzogbefeme, Fume and Dzokpe.

Okusie Akyem Foli V, Chief of Amedzofe, told the launch that by the en= d of the first rotational round of the festival, Avatime would have been transformed into an 93urban setting."

Eco-tourism represents another economic potential of the area, which also has an altitudinal climate, capacity to grow temperate crops, waterfalls, exotic plants and fauna and historical relics. Osie Adza Tekpor VII, Paramount Chief of the Avatime, who formally launched the festival said the aim was to rejuvenate the cultivation of the rice as a major economic activity of the area, involving the mass of the people.

He said the Avatime rice was billed to become a much sought after rice type in the world.

Madam Peace Baku, Chief Executive Officer of ENEDAS Farms, a product development entity, said the Avatime rice type was already doing well in th= e local and foreign market with farmers currently working hard to meet a 250-bag order from the US.

She said the competitive market strength of the Avatime Rice was that it was organic and possessed exotic medicinal properties associated with longevity.

Madam Baku said derivatives of the rice include child weaning preparations and flour for the preparation of many other foods. She said the rice types' cultivation went down because of the labori= ous processes of land preparation, harvesting, de-stoning and de-shelling and that modern technology would make production easier and cost effective.

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