CPCRI director Pallem Chowdappa to step down

CPCRI director Pallem Chowdappa to step down

Dr Pallem Chowdappa

Dr Pallem Chowdappa, who has opted for VRS (Voluntary retirement scheme), will step down from the post of Director, ICAR- Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod on Thursday.

Chowdappa’s decision to opt for the VRS has taken many by surprise. He is hailed for taking technology to entrepreneurs through many outreach programmes during his tenure as the director for the past four-and-a-half years.

Chowdappa joined Agriculture Research service at the CPCRI in 1985 and later worked at Indian Institute of Horticulture-Bangalore before joining as director of the CPCRI in 2014.

Chowdappa’s initiatives to bridge the gap between the farmers and the research station resulted in the signing of 170 agreements on technology transfers that fetched an income of Rs 50 lakh to the institute.

Some of the commercialisation of technology that took place during his tenure are arecanut tissue culture (with SPIC, Coimbatore), coconut frozen delicacy (with Hangyo Ice screams, Mangalore), Kalpa dark chocolate (with CAMPCO) and nano matrix for pheromone delivery to control rhinoceros and red palm weevil (with three companies).

As Director, Chowdappa had influenced policy makers to formulate ‘neera’ policy in many states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, AP) which had benefited many coconut farmers. His interventions with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had helped governments to change their negative stand on arecanut and human health.

He was instrumental in ensuring that the CPCRI’s centenary celebrations were celebrated in an unique manner. Chowdappa got 100 farmers from 18 states to plant 100 coconut saplings within a minute. The feat was duly recognised and now finds a mention in the Limca Book of Records. The release of the ‘CPCRI 100 Years of Scientific Excellence and Harvesting Wisdom of 100 Farmers’, souvenir, were the highlights of the celebrations.

He created many new facilities in the Institute such as mass production of bio agents, clonal propagation of arecanut, coconut value addition (ice scream, extruded products) etc.

Under his leadership, the CPCRI had developed a mini-tractor mounted air blast sprayer and also an unmanned aerial vehicle for spraying in plantations of coconut, arecanut and oil palm.