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General Characteristics

Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)(Hindi name: Jau), a cereal grain derived from an annual grass is the fourthmost important cereal crop in the world after rice, wheat and maize.

Barley is very adaptable and is awidely grown crop. It is cultivated as a summer crop in temperate areas and asa winter crop in tropical areas. Barley has a short growing season and is alsorelatively drought tolerant. However, it is a tender grain and care has to betaken in all stages of its growth and harvest.

Barley is used as livestock feed,human food and barley malt. While, historically, livestock consumed most ofbarley produced globally, this is no more the case now. Currently food andindustrial consumption of barley is more prominent.

Barley along with corn/maize,sorghum (jowar), oats, pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi) and otherminor millets are grouped together as coarse cereals.

Global Scenario

The annual global barleyproduction 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 milliontonnes. The total average production of all coarse cereals in the recent yearshas been around 1000 million tonnes.

European Union, Russia, Ukraine,Canada, Australia, Turkey and USA are the major producers of barley accountingfor around 75% of the total global production, with average production in theseregions being around 55, 18, 10, 10, 6, 6, 4-5 million tonnes respectively inthe recent years.

Following corn, barley is thesecond largest coarse cereal traded globally. The global trade in barley isreported 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 areSaudi 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 malt production

The global malt production isestimated to be around 22 million tonnes, more than 90% of which is producedfrom barley. It is estimated that around 94% of global malt production is usedfor making beer. The EU accounts for approximately 42% of the world s maltproduction.

Indian Scenario

Barley is cultivated as a rabicrop in India, with sowing being undertaken from October to December andharvesting from March to May. .

India s annual production ofBarley 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 areaunder cultivation has also stabilized at around 0.7-0.8 lakh hectares, with aper hectare yield of around 1944 kg.

Latest state wise data available isthat of 2005-06 from the Ministry of Agriculture. But it gives a fair pictureof land use for the crop of barley. The major producers of Barley in thecountry are Rajasthan (40%), Uttar Pradesh (34%), Madhya Pradesh (8%), Haryana(6%) and Punjab (5%). Some cultivation is also undertaken in Bihar, HimachalPradesh, and Uttaranchal.

In addition, to direct humanconsumption barley is utilized by the beer industry, food processing industryand feed manufacturing industry in India. Annual demand from beer and feedindustry is estimated to be around 60,000 tonnes and 25,000 tonnesrespectively.

However, rising demand for beeramong India s urban young consumers is leading to increased demand for barleymalt from Indian beer manufacturing units. The country s beer consumption involume 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 millionlitres.

India s barley production isprojected to increase to around 2 million tonnes in a couple of years to meetthe rising demand for barley malt.

Major Indian Trading Centres

The major markets are located inRajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The three largest markets are Kota, Ramganj Mandiand Baran in Rajasthan

Market Influencing Factors

Rising industrial demand is themain influencing factor in the Indian markets currently. While, demand fromfeed sector is more or less constant, demand from beer and food processingsectors are picking up.

The price of other coarse cerealsinfluences the demand from the feed sector and in-turn influences barleyprices.

Easier proximity to Middle-eastcountries has increased the export demand. The amount of exports undertakeninfluences prices significantly. It was the high export in 2007-8 and 2008-9that resulted in the prices of Barley zooming to the high of almost 1300 inMarch 2008.

The reports of rising beerconsumption in India is leading to major global barley / barley malt producerseyeing India as a probable buyer in the coming years. Currently, India does notimport barley. Picking up of imports can alter the current Indian supply-demanddynamics and become a major price influencing factor.

The Government announces MinimumSupport Price (MSP) for barley. However, Government procurement has been rarelyundertaken, as there is no surplus production in the country.

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