Barani (Rainfed) tract comprises 3.10 million hectares out of total 11.83 million hectares under cultivation in Punjab. It is further characterized by different ecological zones depending upon soil type and rainfall pattern. Whole of the Attock, Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Chakwal districts and parts of Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Khushab, Mianwali, Jhang, Bhakkar, Layyah, D.G.Khan and Rajanpur districts are included in the Punjab Barani Tract.

Formerly agricultural research was mainly carried out in irrigated areas. Barani area of Punjab (about 30 %) was not given proper consideration so for as agricultural sector is concerned. However, in seventies, the government realized that natural sources of barani area must be explored for its overall development and welfare. So the Government of the Punjab constituted a Barani Commission in 1975 which was assigned the duty of studying all possibilities of its development. The commission submitted its report in June, 1976. Apart from many other recommendations, the commission proposed establishment of an Agricultural Research Institute in Rawalpindi Division, the main barani tract.

On the recommendations of the Barani Commission, Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Chakwal was established in 1979 to tackle the agricultural problems of barani areas. Geographically, the main campus is situated at 72o longitude, 32o latitude & 575ams altitude. It comprises of a total area of 89 hectares at the main campus. Out of this, 65 hectares are reserved for research purposes and the rest is under campus offices, roads and residential colony. The Institute is composed of seven research divisions (Crop Breeding, Agronomy, Soil Science, Horticulture, Plant Protection, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics and Statistics) to address / solve the problems of the farming community of the area.