Context and Background
The Ngala Regional Agricultural Training School was established in March 1977 by the LCBC to train mid-level cadres from member States namely Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. Ngala is located mid-way between Ndjamena and Maiduguri on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Since its inception, close to 3,000 technical officers have been trained in general agriculture, forestry and wildlife, environmental studies, mechanised agriculture and plant protection.
Infrastructure and equipment
The school stands on a 100-hectare plot and comprises an administrative block with 14 offices, two meeting halls, a building with 4 classes that can sit 100 students, three unequipped laboratories, a multipurpose hall with more than two hundred seats with cooking equipment, a dormitory with a hundred beds and an agricultural farm.
Logistics include a 37-seater bus, a Toyota Hilux double cabin pick-up truck, the farm is equipped with two tractors, one of which is operational, two tow trucks, two ploughs, a cultivator, a sprayer and phytosanitary material, etc.
Conduct of training
The School runs a harmonised training curriculum adopted by Member States in 1985 and amended in 1990 by the technical officers. Training is conducted in the Commission’s two official languages namely French and English. With the likely admission of Libyans who recently joined the LCBC, the School will be accommodating six different nationalities, thereby asserting its role of intermingling and integrating youths in the entire subregion. The technical officer degree runs for two years including six months of general training and 18 months specialisation.
The training aims to provide rural development agencies and farmers in the subregion with competent extension agents, able to implement agroforestry and pastoral programmes and techniques so as to improve farm yields and preserve natural resources.
In 2011, the training programme was upgraded to the training of Rural Development Technicians and awaits the administrative reform of the school before effective implementation.
Admission into ERFA is based on a competitive exam organized in each Member State and the number of students admitted depends on the quota set by the LCBC. Each applicant must be sponsored by a public or parastatal agency. Admission is equally open to private candidates.
In 2006, the school signed a memorandum of cooperation with the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria to bring in its expertise and equipment. The school plans to sign similar agreements with Institutes, Member States’ agencies and other countries which can contribute to: i) its development, ii) experience-sharing, iii) accommodation and supervision of students during internships, iv) refresher training of trainers, and v) equipping workshops, laboratories, etc..