- Barley (Hordeum
vulgare L.) (Hindi name: Jau), a cereal grain derived from an annual
grass is the fourth most important cereal crop in the world after
rice, wheat and maize.
- Barley is very
adaptable and is a widely grown crop. It is cultivated as a summer
crop in temperate areas and as a winter crop in tropical areas. Barley
has a short growing season and is also relatively drought tolerant.
However, it is a tender grain and care has to be taken in all stages of
its growth and harvest.
- Barley is used as
livestock feed, human food and barley malt. While, historically,
livestock consumed most of barley produced globally, this is no more
the case now. Currently food and industrial consumption of barley is
- Barley along with
corn/maize, sorghum (jowar), oats, pearl millet (bajra), finger millet
(ragi) and other minor millets are grouped together as coarse cereals.
- The annual global
barley production has been in the range of 130-140 million tonnes in
the recent years. However, in 2008-09 it is estimated to have risen
sharply to 158 million tonnes. The total average production of all
coarse cereals in the recent years has been around 1000 million
- European Union,
Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Australia, Turkey and USA are the major
producers of barley accounting for around 75% of the total global
production, with average production in these regions being around 55,
18, 10, 10, 6, 6, 4-5 million tonnes respectively in the recent years.
- Following corn,
barley is the second largest coarse cereal traded globally. The global
trade in barley is reported to be around 17-18 million tonnes, with
Ukraine (4-5 million tonnes), Russia (2-3 million tonnes), Australia
(2-3) and EU-27 (2-3 million tonnes) being the major global exporters.
- The major importing
nations are Saudi Arabia (6-8 million tonnes), China (1-1.5 million
tonnes) and Japan (1-1.5 million tonnes. While, Saudi Arabia imports
barley mainly for feed, Japan and China import it for both feed and
- The global malt
production is estimated to be around 22 million tonnes, more than 90%
of which is produced from barley. It is estimated that around 94% of
global malt production is used for making beer. The EU accounts for
approximately 42% of the world's malt production.
- Barley is cultivated
as a rabi crop in India, with sowing being undertaken from October to
December and harvesting from March to May. .
- India's annual
production of Barley has been steadily around 1.2-1.5 million tonnes
in the recent years, with production in 2008-09 estimated to be around
1.54 million tonnes. The area under cultivation has also stabilized at
around 0.7-0.8 lakh hectares, with a per hectare yield of around 1944
- Latest state wise
data available is that of 2005-06 from the Ministry of Agriculture.
But it gives a fair picture of land use for the crop of barley. The
major producers of Barley in the country are Rajasthan (40%), Uttar
Pradesh (34%), Madhya Pradesh (8%), Haryana (6%) and Punjab (5%). Some
cultivation is also undertaken in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and
- In addition, to
direct human consumption barley is utilized by the beer industry, food
processing industry and feed manufacturing industry in India. Annual
demand from beer and feed industry is estimated to be around 60,000
tonnes and 25,000 tonnes respectively.
- However, rising
demand for beer among India's urban young consumers is leading to
increased demand for barley malt from Indian beer manufacturing units.
The country's beer consumption in volume terms is projected to grow by
almost 51% percent between 2006 and 2011. During 2001-06, it is
estimated to have grown by around 45% to over 907 million litres.
- India's barley
production is projected to increase to around 2 million tonnes in a
couple of years to meet the rising demand for barley malt.
Major Indian Trading Centres
The major markets are located in Rajasthan and Madhya
Pradesh. The three largest markets are Kota, Ramganj Mandi and Baran in
Market Influencing Factors
- Rising industrial
demand is the main influencing factor in the Indian markets currently.
While, demand from feed sector is more or less constant, demand from
beer and food processing sectors are picking up.
- The price of other
coarse cereals influences the demand from the feed sector and in-turn
influences barley prices.
- Easier proximity to
Middle-east countries has increased the export demand. The amount of
exports undertaken influences prices significantly. It was the high
export in 2007-8 and 2008-9 that resulted in the prices of Barley
zooming to the high of almost 1300 in March 2008.
- The reports of
rising beer consumption in India is leading to major global barley /
barley malt producers eyeing India as a probable buyer in the coming
years. Currently, India does not import barley. Picking up of imports
can alter the current Indian supply-demand dynamics and become a major
price influencing factor.
- The Government
announces Minimum Support Price (MSP) for barley. However, Government
procurement has been rarely undertaken, as there is no surplus
production in the country.