Barley Research and Development in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 2nd National Barley Research and Development Review Workshop.
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Stefania Grando, Bayeh Mulatu. (31/12/2011). Barley Research and Development in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the 2nd National Barley Research and Development Review Workshop. Beirut, Lebanon.
Barley is thought to have originated in the Fertile Crescent area of the Near East from the wild progenitor Hordeum spontaneum. It is one of the first cereals to have been domesticated, having been cultivated for more than 10 000 years, with archaeological evidence of barley cultivation in Iran as long ago as 8 000 BC. The primary use of barley at that time was in making alcoholic beverages (e.g. barley wine in Babylonia, 2800 BC). Barley was part of the staple diet of those living in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China. It was introduced by Europeans to the New World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Barley is a cool-season crop that is adapted to high altitudes. It is grown in a wide range of agroclimatic regions under several production systems. At altitudes of about 3000 masl or above, it may be the only crop grown that provides food, beverages, and other necessities to many millions of people. Barley grows best on well-drained soils and can tolerate higher levels of soil salinity than most other crops. Food barley is commonly cultivated in stressed areas where soil erosion, occasional drought, or frost limits the ability to grow other crops (Berhanu Bekele, Fekadu Alemayehu, and Berhane Lakew, 2005). Malting barley, however, requires a favorable environment to produce a plump and mealy grain. The diversity of barley ecologies is high, with a large number of folk varieties and traditional practices existing in Ethiopia, which enables the crop to be more adaptable in the highlands (Fekadu Alemayehu, Berhane Lakew and Berhanu Bekele, 2002). In 2005, barley was grown in more than 100 countries worldwide, with total barley grain worldwide of 138 million tonnes from 57 million hectares, with productivity levels at around 2.4 t/ha. The highest commercial yields tend to come from central and northern Europe. The highest productivity is attained in France (6.3 t/ha), whereas national production is greatest in Russia. Research has shown that yields of 10 t/ha can be obtained under intensive management. World production of barley has remained stable since the 1970s. Consumption has also remained stable. World trade in barley has been around 16 million tonnes; this is much less than production, as most of the cereal is consumed locally. Barley holds a unique place in farming in Ethiopia, and various sources agree that it has been in cultivation for at least the past 5000 years in the country
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