Members of the Ghana Made Rice Farmers Association and their families last Saturday visited the Elmina (or St. George’s) Castle in the Central Region and were given a tour of one the country’s most historic facilities by one of the officials at the castle.
The visit by the farmers, according to Mrs. Comfort Aniagyei, president of the association which is in line with driving the agenda for economic emancipation the African continent, was also aimed at getting the farmers to understand how Ghana became the first place in sub-Saharan Africa that Europeans arrived to first trade gold, and later slaves.

She continued that the trip, which was sponsored by GhanaMade, a Ghanaian-owned company that promotes and markets made in Ghana products, also afforded children of the farmers, especially those in school, to experience what their ancestors and those of other African countries went through during the period from when slavery was first introduced until its abolition 400 years later. “We at GhanaMade believe that this tour will go a long to help them in understanding what they were taught in class about slavery,” she stated.

Speaking to this paper after the tour of Ghana’s first-ever Castle, which was built by the Portuguese in the year 1482, Mrs Aniagyei remarked that our great-grandparents were developing at their own pace before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Describing it as most dehumanizing, she continued that the forced removal of Africans from their ancestral lands through the Middle Passage to Europe and the Americas may be considered the worst and most prolonged crime against humanity in recorded history.

“It truncated the development process of Africans over the centuries, and what prevails now is a world in which Africa – even though considered free politically – is still very much dependent on other nations for even basic needs like food and clothing,” Mrs.Aniagyei said.

She called on all descendants and friends of Africa to resolve that Never Again should Africans be considered inferior in any respect to other races. To ensure that this horrible history, which is still playing out on the African Continent, - although with an economic face - is not repeated, Mrs Aniagyei said it is important that Africa achieves total economic emancipation.

“This goal is non-negotiable if we are to avoid history repeating itself (under any guise). Indeed, as a famous son of Africa sang, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, non but ourselves can free our minds” she noted.

She praised the rice farmers for their contribution toward the growth of production in the rice sector, quickly adding that by so doing they are individually and collectively helping make Ghana self-sufficient in the rice sub-sector.

“We at GhanaMade firmly believe that this will spur growth in the agricultural sub-sector. I hereby appeal to Ghanaians to patronise made-in-Ghana products for the overall economic development of Ghana,” she remarked.

Earlier on, the group was given a tour of the castle by one of its officials who narrated to them how the castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 as the first trading post on the Gulf of Guinea, which is considered as the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara.

The official told them that the castle later became the most important stop on the route of the Atlantic Slave trade. The Dutch according to the tour guide, seized the castle from the

Portuguese in 1637 and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade reportedly continued under the Dutch until 1814 and in 1872 the Dutch Gold Coast including the castle became a possession of the British Empire.

The British, according to the castle tour guide’s narration, granted Gold Coast its independence in 1957 and control of the castle was transferred to the nation formed out of the colony, present-day Ghana. The castle is now considered a historical site and is reportedly recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Most of the farmers and their families could not hide their joy at the privilege afforded them by GhanaMade who sponsored the trip. They told this paper that the visit had further deepened their knowledge about how their ancestors and those of other African countries were forcefully shipped out of Africa to be turned into slaves in other parts of the world.

They have all resolved to patronise made-in-Ghana products so as to help develop the country.


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