The present organizational structure of NARO has been a result of integration and streamlining of various research institutions in Japan focusing on agricultural research in the last 15 years. The NARO was established to provide the platform for advancing research initiatives effectively and efficiently, and enable Japan’s agriculture and the rural areas particularly, to accurately respond to changes in society, economy, and the environment.
As part of Japan's administrative reforms, the National Agricultural Research Organization was established along with three independent administrative agencies, the National Institute for Rural Engineering, the National Food Research Institute, and the National Farmers Academy. The National Agricultural Research Organization was designated as a national research and experiment organization that integrated and reorganized 12 national experimental and research organizations addressing agriculture technology research.
The National Agricultural Research Organization and the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution were integrated to form the National Agriculture and Biooriented Research Organization.
The National Agriculture and Bio-oriented Research Organization, National Institute for Rural Engineering, National Food Research Institute, and the National Farmers Academy were integrated to form the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization while retaining the NARO designation.
The National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIEAS), and National Center for Seeds and Seedlings (NCCS) were integrated into the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), to pursue a common mission and role in agricultural research as a new research organization on April 1, 2016. The new NARO aims to promote the development of basic and applied research focusing on practical applications of research outputs in addressing problems on food security, agricultural productivity, and revitalization of rural areas. The development of a research core for scientific discoveries as well as the dissemination of research outputs will be promoted in order to achieve a stable supply of safe food, strengthen industrial competitiveness, protect the environment, and create new innovations, and eventually contribute in enhancing agricultural competitiveness through continuous development and revitalization of local areas and the society at large.