National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike started on 1st January, 1923 on a 20 hectare land, as a British colonial Provincial Experimental farm, under the Colonial Nigeria Department of Agriculture with headquarters at Moor Plantation Ibadan. Following Nigerian regionalization of Government Departments in 1954, it came under the Eastern Region Ministry of Agriculture, supervised by the Director of Agriculture at Enugu. In 1955, the School of Agriculture was established at the same location. The Provincial Experimental Farm or Research Station became known as the Eastern Nigeria Agricultural Research Station in 1956. Both the research station and the school were amalgamated in 1965 and called Agricultural Research and Training Station (ARTS), Umudike. On 1st April, 1972 the then Federal Military government of Nigeria took over this station and renamed it Federal Agricultural Research and Training Station (FARTS), Umudike.
The Station was upgraded to a commodity Research Institute in 1975 by Agricultural Research Institutes Decree 33, 1973 and Research Institutes (Establishment etc) Order 1975, and renamed National Root Crops Research Institute. 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 Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. From 1986, the Institute came under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMANR). In 1992, the Institute’s Federal College of Agriculture was directed to relocate to Ishiagu, Ebonyi State, and its premises were taken over by Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. In 2006, the Institute and its Federal College of Agriculture came under the supervision of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Abuja; an agency under the FMANR.
Location and Land Area
The Institute’s headquarters at Umudike is strategically located at about 8 km South east of Umuahia (Abia State capital) along the Umuahia-IkotEkpene Federal Road. By road,it is 130km North of Port-Harcourt sea port, 135km South of Enugu International Airport and less than 70km East of Owerri Cargo Airport. It is situated on latitude 51/2oN and on longitude 71/2oE and 122m above sea level.
The headquarters at Umudike originally occupied an area of about 419 ha while its outstations spreading across the country occupy a total land area of over 1,000 hectares.
The Institute’s outstations are 7 in number and spread across the country’s Geopolitical Zones as follows:
- Kuru – Plateau State
- Otobi – Benue State
- Igbariam – Anambra State
- Nyanya – Federal Capital territory/Nasarawa State
- Maro – Kaduna State
- Iresi – Osun State
- Gassol – TarabaState (to be resuscitated
Statutory Framework (Organization)
The Institute is administratively supervised by a governing board which is accountable to the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. The board has prerogative for policy initiative while the Executive Director as the Chief Executive is responsible for the running of the institute. Presently the Executive Director is assisted by six (6) technical Directors who in addition with the Director, Finance and Accounts and Head of Administration department constitute the institute Internal Management Committee (IMC).
The institute is structured into department for efficient and effective management. These includes Root and Tuber crops Research (RCR), Tuber Crops Research (TCR), planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PME), Research Support Services (RSS), Farming System Research and Extension (FSRE), Biotechnology and Product Development, Information and Documentation (I&E), Administration and Finance and Accounts. These departments are further subdivided into Divisions, Programmes, Sections and units as follows:
- Root Cops Research Department: Cassava, Sweet Potato and Minor Root Crops (MRC) Programmes.
- Tuber Crops Research Department: Yam, Potato, Ginger and Cocoyam Progrmme.
- Biotechnology & Product Development: Biotechnology, Product Development and Seed Technology Programmes.
- Farming System Research & Extension Department: Farming System Research And Extension Programmes
- Planning Monitoring & Evaluation Department: Planning, Project Monitoring & Evaluation, Budgeting, Statistic, Human Resources Development And Training.
- Research Support Services Department: Computer Services, Metrology, Irrigation And Water Management, Soils, Biochemistry, Genetic Resources, Plant Protection, Plant Breeding, Apiculture, Research And Engineering And Farm Mechanization.
- Finance And Account Department: Accounts And Stores
- Administration Department: Registry, Pensions, Medical Clinic, Estate Redevelopment and Management, Security, Guest House And Personnel.
Activities/ Mandates of NRCRI
- The National Mandate Of NRCRI Is to research into genetic improvement, production, processing, storage and socio-economics of root and tuber crops of economic importance (Yam, Cassava, Potato, Sweetpotato, Cocoyam, Ginger, Hausa Potato (Solenostemon Rotindifolinus), Sugerbeet, Radish, Rizga, And Amora (Arrow Root) ).
- NRCRI Also Has The Zonal Mandate of reaching into the entire farming system of South-East Agro-Ecological Zone. The zone covers Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo State of Nigeria.
- NRCRI additionally execute agricultural extension services in liaison with relevant federal and state agencies such as national agricultural extension research and liaisons services (NAERLS)and the state’s agricultural development projects (ADPS) on its mandate crop within the mandate zone.
To reduce poverty and increase food security through the development of relevant and sustainable technologies for stake-holders in root and tuber crops.
The National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, in collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, has substantially contributed to the National Food Security and Sufficiency through research and extension activities on root and tuber crops. The following achievements are outstanding:
- Nigeria is now ranked first in the world production of cassava, yam and coco yam with total annual productions of over 60, 40 and 4 million metric tonnes for cassava, yam and cocoyam, respectively.
- Irish Potato production in Nigeria has increase from 523,000 metric tonnes in 1975 to over 1 million metric tones . Productions has also expanded from Jos Plateau to Sokoto, Kaduna , Kebbi, Kano Jigawa , Bauchi , Yobe and Borno state where potato is produced under irrigation during the harmattan months (November to February). Also, the Institute has developed technique for the use of true potato seed (botanical seed) instead of the traditional seed tubers for seed potato production.
- The yam Minisett and mini-tubers techniques as well as the Minisett dust developed by the institute for seed yam production also have the potential to end the age long scarcity, and high cost of seed.