Dr. Velchala Praveen Rao has been positioned as the Agro-knowledge Manager at Netafim’s Agro-Marketing Division since 2006. As a senior agronomist, he is responsible for mapping agronomical know-how for a wide range of crops. Prior to his current position, Dr. Rao was the Head Agronomist of Netafim India, leading this subsidiary towards its successful and rapid growth and to becoming one of the largest subsidiaries of Netafim Ltd.
Dr. Rao holds a Ph.D. degree in Agronomy with various specializations, including crop water requirements, microirrigation scheduling and fertigation solutions of tropical field and orchard crops, soil water plant relations and crop-yield modeling. Since 1983, Dr. Rao has acquired extensive research, field and teaching experience worldwide. He has conducted field experiments, on-farm trials and demonstrations in various states of India as well as throughout several countries in Southeast Asia for the large scale promotion of drip irrigation and fertigation technology.
For the past two decades, Dr. Rao has focused on creating training and capacity building for application and successful implementation of microirrigation technology projects of water conservation.
As part of his work within several states across India, Dr. Rao has worked in close collaboration with Andhra Pradesh State Government serving as its technical advisor. He was instrumental in developing project reports for 22 districts as well as technical guidelines and implementation protocols for the world's largest microirrigation project spanning over an area of 0.25 million ha (2003-04). This project was a significant milestone in Indian agriculture and set a benchmark for microirrigation technology application in the sub-continent. For this achievement Dr. Rao was awarded the “Leadership Award” in 2005.
Dr. Rao is a fellow and councilor of several national and international professional bodies and also serves as a technical advisor to several organizations regarding microirrigation technologies. Dr. Rao is a Professor of Agronomy. He has published 115 research articles in both national and international journals and has authored 18 books, mainly dealing with issues of water management and microirrigation technology.