In line with its national and zonal mandates, the institute has the responsibility of conducting research into:
- Genetic improvement of root and tuber crops of economic importance in Nigeria, such as cassava, yam, cocoyam, sweet potato, irish potato, ginger, rizga, Hausa potato, sugar beets and Turmeric.
- Agronomy of root and tuber crop production including farming systems development for the southeast agro ecology.
- Socio-economic problems related to root and tuber crop production
- Storage, Processing and Utilization of root and tuber crops
- Design and fabrication of simple agricultural farm tools and equipment.
- National Root Crops Research Institute has the zonal mandate for the total farming systems Research and Extension covering the 5 States of the Southeast namely, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa,Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo . It carries out Agricultural Extension Liaison with relevant Federal and State Ministries, Primary agricultural producers, industries and other users of research findings in collaboration with the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS).
- Training of middle level manpower in agriculture leading to award of Ordinary National diploma/Higher National Diploma including vocational training farmers on specialized topics.