Agrochemicals is the generic name of chemical products used in the agricultural field. These include pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, nematicides, synthetic fertilizers, bio fertilizer, and chemical growth agents, among others. Increasing population and surging urbanization in turn puts additional pressure on the already diminishing farmlands. Agrochemicals help to effectively cultivate and manage crops to increase production. Thus, these factors greatly support growth of the global agrochemicals market. Various government and non-governmental organizations are focusing on addressing this global concern by increasing funding for programs related to the agricultural sector. The World Bank implemented 146 projects during 2014–2016, which provide agricultural services and assets to 17 million farmers, in turn augmenting growth of the market. The U.S., China, and Japan are the largest producers of agrochemicals, while North America, followed by Asia Pacific are the largest consumers in the global agrochemicals market. Population explosion in countries such as India and China, along with rapid economic growth in these countries is expected to position Asia Pacific as the fastest growing market for agrochemicals in the foreseeable future.
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Agrochemicals Market Outlook – Surge in Food Grains Demand Augmenting Market Growth
The global agrochemicals market is expected to be mainly fueled by increasing global population and the subsequent increasing demand for food grains. Moreover, rampant urbanization over the last couple of decades has led to a steep decline in farmlands. For instance, total farmland in the U.S. decreased from 1,151 million acres in 1949 to 921 million acres in 2002 (Pfeffer et al. 2006). This increases adoption of duel cultivation, wherein various fertilizers are used to maintain the fertility of the soil and pesticides help improve crop yield. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations forecast, world cereal production in 2016 was pegged at around 2,543 million tonnes, 0.6 percent higher than in 2015 and only 0.7 percent below the 2014 record high. At that level, production was 17.3 million tonnes higher than that expected in May, reflecting upward revisions for wheat production in Argentina, the EU and the Russian Federation, as well as for maize in Argentina, Canada, the EU, and the U.S. This creates a highly conducive environment for growth of the agrochemicals market.
Agrochemicals Market Challenges – Environmental and Health Impact
Despite its numerous advantages, agrochemicals are also associated with certain environmental and health issues. Excessive use of fertilizers has led to ground water contamination with toxic chemicals such as nitrate. Drinking of nitrate-contaminated water causes certain diseases such as immobilization of hemoglobin in blood, reduced oxygen supply, among others. Moreover, the pesticides used for pest control such as DDT, dieldrin, aldrin, among others, also have significant impact on environment and living beings. In the U.S., numerous wild birds die every year due to the use of an agricultural pesticides carbofuran. Carbofuran granules resemble the size and shape of grain seeds, which are the staple diet of most birds. The detrimental impact of insecticides and pesticides on the environment is expected to be the key challenge in the global agrochemicals industry. This has in turn led to increasing efforts by manufacturers and regulatory bodies alike to develop non-toxic natural pesticides and herbicides. This trend is further supported with increasing consumer inclination towards organic food products, which necessitate use of organic pesticides and insecticides.
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Key players in the market include Agrium, BASF SE, BAYER AG, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Syngenta AG, The Mosaic Co., Yara International, Gharda Chemicals Ltd., Drexel Chemical Company, Qatar Fertilizer Company, Cf Industries, Israel Chemicals Ltd., American Vanguard Corporation, Rotam Corpsciences, FMC Corporation, and Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd.
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