Through his calendar, SKAUST K scientist paves a way for transmitting cutting edge research to beneficiaries
Post by Javid Sofi on Friday, January 20, 2023
For the past four years Dr Amjad M Husaini, associate professor and senior scientist, plant biotechnology, SKAUST Kashmir, has been designing different issues of a wall calendar with an aim to showcase and conserve Kashmir's heritage crop of saffron.
Reiterating that there was an immense scope for the saffron expansion, Dr Amjad says, “ For some reasons the cultivation of saffron has dwindled in traditional areas of Kashmir."
He added that they have demonstrated through trials that saffron can be grown in some niche areas across 10 districts in Kashmir and 3 high altitude districts of Jammu.
He said that for saffron expansion farmers need to be educated with the latest research and technology and there is a need to engage them.
“Our scientists have done tremendous hard work in different research areas concerning saffron, voluminous research work published through journals and books becomes inaccessible to common people due to poor reading habits, use of technical language and limited supply of these research materials ,” he said, adding that because of these constraints researchers have to be innovative to reach to common people.
“ It was this idea which has driven me to design an innovative calendar dedicated to saffron cultivation,” he said, adding that over these years it has become a medium of education for its beneficiaries.
“ If there are some delays in the publishing, people call us and some even visit here to enquire about its release date,” he said, adding it has strengthened the bond between them and the people.
The calendar is distributed during ‘Kisan Melas’ and other farmer training programmes.
The first issue of the Calendar released in 2020 was designed on the theme how a common man can establish authenticity of Kashmiri saffron. The wall calendar informs about visualisation of markers through folds-cope to identify pure saffron. The wall calendar further educates that the fold-scope consists of paper with a lens fixed in a hole in the paper.
It further reads that the stigma (saffron) top has finger-like projections called Papilli.“ Presence of Papilli authenticates purity of saffron and their absence is an indication that it is fake,” the wall calendar reads.
Amjad said that use of Folds-cope based markers (Papilli) will guard saffron buyers against fraud and cheating.Similarly, the year 2021 calendar guides on various operations that growers have to execute from sowing to marketing.
The wall calendars for next two years highlight different innovative techniques which can be used for saffron expansion including indoor cultivation, saffron kitchen gardens and intercropping of saffron with almond, apple and mulberry.
“When people see through pictures how their fellow villagers are adopting a particular technique it inspires them to emulate,” Amjad said, adding that he has seen many people enquiring about different techniques which were highlighted through the Calendar