COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Plant Biostimulants is projected to reach US$3.8 billion by 2025, driven by the growing focus of governments worldwide to reduce agriculture`s growing carbon footprint and make it more sustainable. This goal comes against the backdrop of the challenges involved in feeding a growing global population. As pressure on food production and crop yields increase, there is an even greater need to make agriculture more resilient and efficient in an eco-friendly manner. Comprising of both natural and biosynthetic substances, plant biostimulants offer a green way forward in this direction by promising to reduce and eventually eliminate dependence on toxic and environmentally polluting chemical fertilizers. Benefits offered by plant biostimulants include enhanced plant tolerance to abiotic stresses; natural enhancement of a plant`s metabolism for better quality yield; more efficient nutrient assimilation, absorption, translocation and use; and enhanced soil fertility. A majority of biostimulants available today are biosynthetic as they are extracted from plant and animal sources and processed in a laboratory with engineered biosynthetic production methods that mimics pathways/processes modeled after chemicals reactions in living organisms. For example are all waste-derived biostimulants i.e. protein hydrolysates (PHs) that include polypeptides, oligopeptides, and amino acids which are manufactured from hydrolyzed protein-rich waste; and other preparations such as enzymes, micronutrients, and other compounds manufactured as a result of chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis. Natural biostimulants are an emerging group of plant biostimulants defined as the use of microorganism such as fungi and bacteria. Popular fungi used as biostimulants include Glomus intraradices; Trichoderma atroviride; Trichoderma reesei; and Heteroconium chaetospira, among others. Bacteria, fungi and yeasts have the ability to promote plant growth by enabling biocontrol of plant pathogen that retard growth. These microorganisms produce hormone-like substances that positively influence biological processes that regulate plant physiology, metabolism, morphology and interactions within the agroecosystem. Continuous research in the area of soil based organisms is enabling greater understanding of the complex world of bacteria leading to the development of new categories of microbiome ecosystem. "Crop probiotics" are now poised to emerge into powerful new plant biostimulants solutions
A major factor influencing growth in the market is the projected increase in demand for organic foods to over US$300 billion by 2022 and a parallel rise in organic farming area to a record high of 75 million hectares by 2020. Expected global population growth to over 8.5 billion by 2030 brings special focus on food security, crop productivity and yields. In addition, the growing CO2 footprint of fertilizers is raising concerns forcing the regulatory authorities to crack down on indiscriminate use of fertilizers. A case in point is the growing CO2 Footprint of Ammonium Nitrate, the most common chemical fertilizer. The use of this fertilizer accounts for the largest share of emissions, approximately 40%, during its production and use. The proposed imposition of agriculture carbon tax in several developed countries worldwide is additionally encouraging robust penetration of environmentally friendly farming practices in world`s farms. For instance, over 35% of farming practices worldwide is based on eco-friendly approaches. In response to the growing need for eco-friendly solutions, investments in plant science is growing as measured by projected spending on agricultural biotechnology which is projected to reach US$60 billion by 2024. All of these factors combine to provide robust growth opportunities for plant biostimulants. Interestingly, growth in hydroponics is driving increased demand for seaweed extracts. The growing trend towards greenhouse horticulture as an intensive farming method to grow crops with less water, artificially managed temperature and protected from natural climatic and environmental conditions will also spur growth of biostimulants such as protein hydrolysates, humic and fulvic acids. The United States, Europe and Latin America represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 72.5% of the market. China ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 14.2% over the analysis period supported by the fact that the country ranks as the world`s largest agrarian economy backed with strong policy level support for the adoption of environment friendly agricultural inputs. The Chinese government focuses on farmer education to enhance awareness over crop economics and risk management and stay abreast of new developments in technology, science and business.