K Balachandra Hebbar has been appointed as the Director of the Kasaragod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) on the recommendations of the Agricultural Scientists’ Recruitment Board (ASRB) and the President of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Society. He assumed charge on Monday.

Hebbar joined as Scientist at Central Institute for Cotton Research in Nagpur in 1995. A press statement from CPCRI said that he was the first one to demonstrate the cause and management strategy for 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 Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal.

He has been working as Head (Plant Physiology, Biochemistry and Post Harvest Technology) at CPCRI since 2010.

Hebbar has worked extensively on impact and adaptive strategies of field/plantation crops to climate change. He has been awarded Borlaug Fellow for 2010 under climate change by United States Department of Agriculture.

In coconut, he has developed the ‘cocosap chiller’ technology for the collection of hygienic and unfermented coconut sap (neera) from the coconut spadix. This technology has been 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, it said.