According to official news from southwest China's Tibet, the region's grain yield has been maintained above 1 million tons for the third straight year, with the highland barley exceeding 700,000 tons for the third year in a row as well, ensuring that food demand for all people in Tibet has been met.
As a special food crop from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, highland barley has been the main staple of the Tibetan people for thousands of years, with the largest planted area and the highest production in Tibet. However, due to the restrictive natural geography and ecological environment, Tibet's amount of arable land is scattered, small and of poor quality, and it faces several challenges in increasing grain yields.
Lin Mu, director of the Planting Division of the Department of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said that in 2017, 2.1 million mu (0.14 million hectares) of highland barley were planted in Tibet, accounting for 60 percent of China's highland barley planting area, and the 700,000 tons yield accounted for 70 percent of China's total highland barley production.
"Among the 700,000 tons of highland barley produced in Tibet, 70,000 tons have been processed into barley vinegar, barley biscuits, and other products," Lin Mu said.
Today, more and more consumers are recognizing the health benefits of highland barley. Research shows that the crop has a good effect on lowering blood fat, lowering cholesterol, and preventing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
In addition to being self-sufficient for tsampa and brewed highland barley wine, in recent years, people in Tibet have tried to increase its added value.
In 2017, 5 tons of highland barley was shipped from Tibet to the United States. This marked the first time Tibet has exported barley overseas.
It is reported that in 2018, the total cultivation area of highland barley in Tibet will increase to 2.11 million mu (0.141 million hectares) and the production will exceed 800,000 tons.
According to Lin Mu, the planned increase in highland barley production this year will be mainly achieved through modern technology.