Ogongo Agricultural College, located in Omusati region, in northern Namibia, was first opened in February 1973 to serve the needs of the then Administration of Owambos to train its young population in agriculture. The disturbances and recruitment difficulties during the liberation war led to its closure in 1988. Following independence in 1990, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development (MAWRD) took over the premises to provide an important regional centre for agricultural training, research and extension. The college was repossessed by MAWRD in 1992, with the assistance of the European Community. Omusati, one of the four regions that make up the area of former Owamboland, is inhabited by 13 percent of the country's population. Because of population growth and human settlement, the region's natural resources are under severe pressure, resulting in land degradation, in particular deforestation, overgrazing and declining fertile arable land.
To produce competent, knowledgeable and skilled forestry and agricultural extension and research technicians, farm managers and forestry rangers who will work in both the public and the private sectors.
The Forestry Training Programme was established in 1992 with the assistance of the Finnish Government (SADC AAA 5.9 Project). The main objective of the programme was to produce an adequate number of qualified technical forestry and resource management personnel of both sexes to meet the national requirements in both public and private sectors in the changing conditions and challenges of Namibia.
The forestry programme started with a one-year pilot course in 1993 while the two-year Certificate Programme was initiated in January 1994. In 1997 it was decided to phase out the two-year Certificate Course and, accordingly, the three-year National Diploma in Forestry commenced during the 1998 academic year. At present, the college is running two programmes: the National Diploma in Agriculture and the National Diploma in Forestry.
The college farm comprises 4 300 ha and is devoted to training purposes for livestock raising, crop production and forestry. In 1995, 1 000 ha of the farm were developed as a game reserve in collaboration with Nature Conservation. The college also has a well-equipped workshop, which provides training facilities for engineering subjects, and an established forestry nursery which offers students excellent hands-on experience. The college is directly accountable to MAWRD and is managed by a principal who reports to the Deputy Director of Agricultural Training.
Plans are under way for Neudamm and Ogongo Agricultural Colleges to merge with the Faculty of Agriculture to give form a new institution, Namibia University College of Agriculture (NUCA), which will run the following programmes:
The college will be an associate of the University of Namibia (UNAM) and will be headed by a principal and a dean who will be responsible for academic affairs.