Will High-Growth Projections for Biologicals be Impended by COVID-19?

Published online: Jun 01, 2020 Articles, Fertilizer, Fungicide, Herbicide, Insecticide
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Determining how the global pandemic will alter the landscape of their industries is now the central question of all businesses. Over the past decade, the agrochemical industry has been experiencing a boom in the use of biological-based ingredients for biopesticides as well as biostimulant and biofertilizer markets, steadily progressing into double-digit figures. But what will happen next?

Due to various societal pressures such as the demand for safer foods and the protection of workers’ health, a spotlight has been shone on the chemicals used in crop production. More research on chemical residues and toxicity levels has led to bans on some of the leading active ingredients used for crop protection. Neonicotinoids and some organophosphate ingredients have already been withdrawn from use in many countries and territories, while the herbicide glyphosate remains a hotly and widely publicized issue of contention. Biological ingredients are the natural choice for closing in these market gaps and improving consumer perception and trust.

In Kline’s biologicals series covering the global biopesticides market, as well as the global biostimulants and the biofertilizer market, the current situation of these industries in key country markets is analyzed. While the biopesticides market is more regulated and defined, the biostimulant and biofertilizer industry is still lagging. Most countries do not have a clear definition of the biological aspect of plant health. At best, regulations are only for fertilizer products and their composition allowance for nutrient contents. This leads to many biostimulants being categorized under several different names, including biofertilizer, soil conditioners, soil amendments, soil enhancers and plant tonics. To rectify this, the European Union Commission has announced plans to amend the EU fertilizer regulation. This regulation will help to clearly define biostimulants products, a move that will help develop and improve the market sector.

Kline forecasts the biostimulant and biofertilizer industry to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5 percent over the next five years. Likewise, the global biopesticides industry is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 9.7 percent over the same period. Both market sectors anticipate high growth and signal a big shift for the agrochemical industry.

It’s still too early to determine whether the current pandemic situation will affect such positive projections, as it will take a longer time for the full effects to be seen. However, leading agrochemical manufacturers have already made many investments toward developing their biologicals portfolios. Moreover, in the past five years, a number of mergers and acquisitions among top-tiered agrochemical companies have taken place for the purpose of connecting research and technology capabilities and developing novel biological products for the industry. In the wake of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, it is likely this development of new products may be decelerated, as companies will look to reduce risky spending.

The focus of such companies can shift to promoting current product portfolios to further grow sales, as opposed to introducing new products, a process which needs time to develop farmer trust in efficacy. However, the current pandemic has highlighted the benefits of rising technologies such as drone applications as opposed to farm labor, which could see more investments toward precision agricultural systems. Many existing drone companies have already tested and are using biological ingredients for applications, which could help keep the growth trend positive.

Another benefit that could curry favor for biological ingredients is that while many chemical products need to be imported across the world, it is entirely possible for many countries to begin to develop biological inputs domestically. Ingredients such as botanical extracts, humic substances, fungi and bacteria have the potential to be developed through some countries’ internal laboratory resources and can help develop their respective domestic supplies.

To learn more about this promising market, register for Kline’s Key Insights into Biopesticides and Biostimulants Markets webinar.

Kline’s Biostimulants and Biofertilizers: Global Overview of the Market and Use report covers 10 countries, 40 country crop segments, 150 companies, and more than 100 active ingredients. It includes technology, product descriptions, company profiles, crop targets, and, most importantly, an outlook and product category forecast for each country and market segment covered.

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