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.
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:
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 seven (7) technical Directors who in addition with the Director, Finance and Accounts, Head of Administration department and Head of Internal Audit Unit constitute the institute Internal Management Committee (IMC).
The institute is structured into department for efficient and effective management. These includes Crop Research Operations Department (CROD), Research Outreach Department (ROD), Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PME), Research Support Services (RSS), Biotechnology and Product Development, Agricultural Engineering & Mechanization Department, Information and Documentation (I&E), Administration and Finance and Accounts. These departments are further subdivided into Divisions, Programmes, Sections and units as follows:
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: