The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Delhi, has appointed K. Balachandra Hebbar as the Director, Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, Kerala.
Mr. Hebbar, from Kukkehalli of Udupi district, will take charge on Sunday. He was the Head, Plant Physiology, Biochemistry and Post Harvest Technology at the CPCRI since 2010. Now he has been elevated to the top post of the CPCRI.
A regular director has been appointed to the CPCRI after a gap of four years.
The ICAR announced his appointment based on the recommendations of the Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board (ASRB), a release from CPCRI said.
After the superannuation of P. Chowdappa, who was the director of CPCRI, Anitha Karun and K. Muralidharan, senior scientists at CPCRI, were the acting directors from January 11, 2019, to January 22, 2023.
The CPCRI has its Regional Station at Vitla, Bantwal taluk, and a Research Centre at Kidu, near Kukke Subrahmanya, in Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka.
Mr. Hebbar began as a scientist at the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur, in 1995. He was the first one to demonstrate the cause and management strategy for sudden/parawilt of Bt Cotton. He developed and validated cotton simulation model Infocrop for the simulation of growth and production of cotton under future climate. In 2007, he got selected as Principal Scientist at the Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal.
He has extensively worked on impact and adaptive strategies of field/plantation crops to climate change. He has been awarded Borlaug Fellow for the year 2010 under climate change by the United States Department of Agriculture.
At the CPCRI, he has developed a simple technology ‘cocosap chiller’ for the collection of hygienic and unfermented coconut sap (neera) from the coconut spadix. ‘Kalprasa’ and its value-added products like coconut sugar developed gave a facelift to the institute under his leadership. The technology has been already successfully implemented in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa and West Bengal for the collection and sale of fresh ‘neera’ as health drink and for the production of value added products.
His collaboration with sectoral agencies in the field of Research and Development were strong. Mr. Hebbar took special effort to uphold the health benefits of arecanut.