National Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike started on 1st of January 1923 on a 20 hectare land, as a provincial research farm, under the Nigeria Department of Agriculture with headquarters at Moor plantation Ibadan. Following regionalization in 1955 it came under the Eastern region Ministry of Agriculture, supervised by the Director of Agriculture Enugu. In the same year the School of Agriculture was established in the same location. It became known as the Eastern Nigerian Agricultural Station in 1956. Both the research station and the school were merged in 1965 and called Agricultural Research and Training Station (ARTS).
On 1st April, 1972 the Federal Government took over this station and renamed it Federal Agricultural Research and Training Station (FARTS).
The station was upgraded to a commodity Research Institute in 1975 by Decree No. 33 and renamed National Roots Crop Research Institute on 1st April 1975. The Institute came under the aegis of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) by Decree No. 5 of January 1977. In 1980, it was transferred to the Ministry of Science and Technology. From 1986, the institute came under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development until 2006 when the Institute came under the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and has maintained the unenviable record standing as the only Agricultural Research Institute east of Niger among the 18 Agricultural research institute spread across the country.
The institution is administratively supervised by a governing board which is accountable to the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources. The board has prerogative for policy initiatives while the Executive Director as the Chief Executive is responsible for the day to day running of the institute. Presently the Executive Directors and 14 Assistant Directors constitute the Institute Internal Management Committee (IMC).
The Institute is structured into divisions for efficient and effective management. These include Root Crops Research (RCR), Tuber Crops Research (TCR), Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (PME), Biotechnology and Product Development, Farming Systems Research & Extension (FSRE), Information and documentation (I & D), Administration, Finance and Accounts, Engineering Maintenance and Estate Management. These divisions are further subdivided into Programmes, Sections and Units as follows:
- Root Crops Research: Cassava, sweet Potato and minor Root Crops (MRC), Biotechnology.
- Tuber Crops Research: Yam, Potato, Ginger and Cocoyam.
- Farming System Research & Extension: Farming System Research Extension, and Post-harvest Technology, Women in Agriculture.
- Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation: Planning, project Monitoring & Evaluation, Budgeting, Statistics, Human Resources Development, Training and Price control.
- Biotechnology and Product Development: Post Harvest Technology, Biotechnology and Molecular Breeding, Seed Technology.
- Information & Documentation: Library, Information and Documentation.
- Finance and Account: Accounts and Stores.
- Administration: Registry, Purchasing, Pensions, Clinic, Station Management, Security, Guest House and Personnel.