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Ranbir Singh Kanwar
was an eminent plant breeder and agronomist who helped usher in the green revolution in India. He obtained his Ph.D. from Ohio State University, Columbus under a joint Indo-US development program. His major contribution was in the area of breeding sugarcane varieties which yielded higher sugar and were early maturing. His most remarkable variety was Co.J. 64 which brought back the dwindling sugar industry in North India out of the doldrums in the 1970s.
His most outstanding research contributions were the development of CO.J. 64, CO.J. 83 and CO.J. 85 (CO - Coimbatore, J - Jalandhar: Naming done by abbreviating these two cities in India where the varieties were bred, Flowering of sugarcane crop occurs only in Coimbatore's climate.) These are three exceptional early maturing high sugar content varieties:
Notable Contributions of Kanwar were:
- Introduction of polythene-bag technique for quick seed multiplication.
- Inter-cropping technology with wider inter-row spacing.
- Development of agro-techniques for raising successful ratoon crop from winter harvested crop and improved nitrogen use efficiency with soil applied insecticides.
He worked in the capacities of Additional Director of Research (Agriculture), Punjab Agricultural University
The Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Punjab is one of the State Agricultural Universities in India. It was established in 1962 and is the nation's oldest agricultural university in India, after Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar. It has an...
, Ludhiana and as Director of Research (1979–1980) in Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur. He gave new directions to agricultural research in the two North Indian states.He also worked as Senior Sugarcane Consultant to Food and Agriculture Organization and undertook international assignments for sugarcane development in Pakistan, Nigeria and Congo.
He was a workaholic and always keen to improvise agricultural research for the benefit of the farmer. His whole thought process was dominated by fresh ideas and a will to work for Sugarcane, his first love.
As a result of his unstinted efforts sugar industry thrived in the northern states of India and he was much sought after by the prominent sugar manufacturing industries in India and abroad.
He lived a flawless and healthy life till 2002 when he was unfortunately diagnosed with a benign tumour of the left kidney. But against all medical advice he kept on working relentlessly till the end and succumbed to the disease exactly on his 75th birthday in 2005.
He will live on with the majestic sugarcane crop, as tall and lanky as himself, growing in the fertile Indo Gangetic plains forever.