Barley occupies 0.46% of the total cropped area, 0.62% of the food grains and 0.76% of the cereals in the country. Similarly it contributes 0.86 of the total production of cereals and 0.81% of the food grains in India.
There has been steady shortfall in the area and production of the crop since 1960-61 onward with the beginning of the Green Revolution. Its area has decreased from 32.23 lakh hectares in 1960-61 to 6.93 lakh hectares in 2002-03 recording an average annual decline of 1.87 percent. Similarly the production has fallen down from 28.66 lakh tones in 1960-61 to 14.06 lakh tones in 2002-03 at an average annual rate of 1.21 per cent. This decline is mainly due to the transfer of the barley area to wheat cultivation.
Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the two major producers of barley in the country. These two states together provide 64 per cent of the total area and 72 per cent of the total production of barley in India. Barley is essentially a crop of North India.
Uttar Pradesh is the leading producer of barley in the country. The state accounts for 36.65% of the total area and 40.11 % of the total production of barley in India. The important barley producing districts include Varanasi, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur, Ballia, Allahabad, Fatehpur, Mirzapur, Agra, Mathura and Bulandshahr.
There has been steady decline in the area (from 7.79 lakh ha in 1980-81 to 2.54 lakh ha in 2002-03 at an Rajasthan is the second largest producer of barley accounting for 27.71 per cent of the total area and 31.79 per cent of the total production of the crop in the country. Here main producers are Udaipur, Ajmer, Dungarpur, Bhilwara, Banswara, Tonk, Pali, Chittaurgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur, Alwar, Sikar and Ganganagar districts. The area under barley has declined from 4.1 lakh hectares in 1980-81 to 1.92 lakh hectares in 2002-03 (decrease of 53.17%). The production has witnessed shortfall from 5.21 lakh tonnes in 1980-81 and 4.47 lakh tonnes in 2002- 03 (decline of 14.2%).
Punjab contributes 3.75% of the total area and 6.05% of the total production of barley in the country. Here important producers include Amritsar, Patiala and Ferozepur districts. Although there has been appreciable decline (49.23%) in the area of
barley from 0.65 lakh hectares in 1980-81 to 0.33 lakh hectares in 2000-01 the production, despite some fluctuations has remained static (1.08 and 1.12 lakh tones in 1980-81 and 2000-01 respectively) during these years due to increasing per hectare yield (1662 kg/ha in 1980-81 and 3394 kg/ha in 2000-01). During 1997-98 there has been marginal increase both in the area (0.39 lakh ha) and production (1.17 lakh tones) of the crop in the state.
Other important producers of barley include Madhya Pradesh (11.69% by area and 7.3% by production of India). Haryana (Gurgaon, Hissarand Rohtak districts), Bihar (Saran, Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Munger and Palamau districts), Himachal Pradesh, and West Bengal states. Despite its small production there is sufficient (about 10 lakh tonnes) inter-state trade of barley in the country. Most of it moves within the state of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.