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The global agricultural films market size was valued at USD 10.71 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 12.29 billion in 2023 to USD 19.62 billion by 2031, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with agricultural films experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Agricultural films are stretchable plastics that protect plants in open ground and greenhouses. These films enhance the productivity of the crops. The performance and lifespan of these plastic films have been enhanced by adding several additives such as UV, thermal stabilizers, and anti-fogging agents. The increasing demand for food has surged the use of efficient plastic films in agriculture. These films find applications in tunnels, greenhouses, irrigation systems, mulching, and silage. They provide shade to the interior parts of the greenhouses and reduce the effects of hail. The growth of the agriculture sector is anticipated to boost the demand for agricultural films during the agricultural films market forecast period.
Interruption in Plastic Supply Affected Market Growth Amid COVID-19 Progression
Plastics, such as polyethylene, ethyl vinyl acetate, and ethyl butyl acrylate, are raw materials used to manufacture agricultural films. The interruption in the upstream supply chain severely hampered film production. Partial or complete shut-down of plastic processors negatively impacted the market growth. According to the survey conducted by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP), most plastic processors primarily served the needs of the medical, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries during the pandemic.
These factors impacted the entire supply chain of agricultural films. Further, the traveling & trade restriction & declining downstream product demand led to considerable changes in the supply-demand scenario. However, the global market has been recovering slowly since 2021, backed by the re-opening of economies and mitigation strategies adopted by leading players.
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Rising Use of Biodegradable Films for Environment Protection to Propel Market Growth
There has been an increase in the consumption of biodegradable films as an alternative solution to films causing environmental problems and human health risks. According to Europa, in the agriculture sector, about 80% of the plastic waste is generated by plastic mulch films. As a result, efforts have been made to develop biodegradable or edible products from biopolymers to improve crop performance and farming practices among end-users. These films come in solid sheets made from natural polymers. Biodegradable agri-films improve crop quality, increase yields, reduce water use for irrigation, enhance weed control, and eliminate or reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides. Hence, a rising preference for these films is expected to fuel market growth.
Furthermore, stringent regulations over conventional plastics may present an opportunity to adopt biodegradable products during crop production. This will increase environmental sustainability in the agricultural industry. These factors are projected to propel the market growth during the forecast period.
Surging Food Demand Owing to Population Growth to Drive Market
Population growth across the world has compelled increased agricultural output. According to the United Nations, the world’s population is anticipated to increase by 2 billion in the subsequent 30 years. This growth and rising disposable income in developing countries have caused increased dietary changes, thus surging the global food demand. The yearly use of land for agricultural crop production has affected soil nutrient content. Hence, many innovative agricultural techniques are used against conventional ones to increase yield.
On the other hand, agricultural films are used on crops and fodder to prevent spoilage and microbial action. Additionally, it helps to raise the soil’s temperature and support plant growth. The plastics industry has been introducing many new efficient products and technologies to improve the yield and profitability of the companies involved in food production. Moreover, the evolution of different agricultural techniques has instigated cost-effectiveness by increasing the quantity and quality of the crops with low investment. The rising need to increase agricultural productivity to fulfill the daily demand for food with minimal expenditure has fueled the market growth.
Increasing Nano Greenhouses Globally for More Agricultural Output to Bolster Growth
Plastic films used as greenhouse covers have evolved into new materials with better mechanical and optical properties. Improved productivity with quick harvest has been made possible due to nano greenhouses. It is a greenhouse coating material called cellular polycarbonate NANO. The polycarbonate NANO is a white polycarbonate with light-modifying properties that ensures a light spectrum beneficial to plants in the greenhouse. Additionally, nano polycarbonate has water-repellency properties, prevents plant burns from direct sunlight, and protects from adverse external conditions, resulting in lower labor costs and energy. Increasing use as a cover of greenhouses is expected to boost the agricultural films market growth.
Stringent Environment Regulations on Plastics Usage to Restrict Market Growth
Plastic is mainly derived from oil and natural gas. Plastic leads to the majority of pollution, including arable land and water pollution. The growing environmental protection and resource conservation concerns have forced many governments and associations to implement regulations on plastic usage. These stringent regulations are anticipated to affect the adoption of agricultural films. Further, the price and availability of plastics depend on the cost of crude oil. The volatility of oil prices causes price fluctuations in plastic products and is further expected to hinder agri-films usage.
Low Cost with Excellent Properties to Retain Dominance of LLDPE in Future
Based on material, the market is segmented into LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE, EVA/EBA, reclaims, and others.
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) has a wide range of agricultural uses due to its easy availability, low cost, high impact resistance, good workability, electrical insulation properties, and excellent chemical resistance. Hence, LLDPE segment held the largest agricultural films market share in 2021. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) films are translucent or colored and offer opacity. These films are used in farming areas with harsh climatic conditions and limited water supply. LDPE films are used for low tunnels, greenhouses, mulching, silage, and irrigation tapes. Rising demand for films that increase the transmissions, minimize reflection, and allow optimal sunlight to enter the greenhouse is anticipated to drive the segment growth.
HDPE films are used for pesticide nets, cans, and irrigation pipes. Increasing preference for films with excellent impact strength and corrosion resistance is expected to boost the HDPE films demand. The others segment mainly includes PVC, which prevents fog & mist and efficiently controls the farming environment within the greenhouse by keeping the dust away.
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Strong Protection Properties Led Mulching Films Segment to Govern Market
Based on application, the market is segmented into greenhouse, mulching, and silage.
The primary reason for agri-films dominance in the global market is their use to protect the crops from the propagation of weeds that prevent the growth and development of crops. Additionally, mulch films enhance soil temperature, prevent moisture loss, and improve crop yield. Attributed to the film’s thickness, it requires thermal stabilizers and proper light with intermediary chemical resistance. These products are protected from adverse weather conditions, thereby enabling the market growth of agricultural films.
Greenhouse films are used to protect crops from rain and wind. They also regulate the internal temperature and prevent temperature changes within the greenhouse during the day and at night. However, silage films are used for packaging seeds, grain, or fodder for consequent fermentation. The most significant feature is their insulation properties such as a barrier against air and water and resistance against sunlight.
Asia Pacific Agricultural Films Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 5.50 billion in 2021. The region dominated the market due to the growing use of mulching & greenhouse films. China is the major consumer of these films in Asia Pacific due to the high food demand from the ever-growing population. The bulk availability of plastic raw materials is paving the way for product innovation in China and other key emerging economies of Asia Pacific. Favorable regulations & government policies on agricultural produce & trade further drives market growth.
North America is expected to show moderate growth during the forecast period as many production facilities are transferred to developing countries. Additionally, the increasing preference of consumers for plant-based food is propelling market growth. The market in Europe is projected to register a comparatively higher CAGR during the forecast period. Increasing consumption of biodegradable materials in the region is anticipated to drive the market. This shift has been caused by stringent regulations on plastic use and disposal.
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Latin America and the Middle East & Africa markets are currently at their developing stage. However, developing infrastructure in these regions and growing consumer demand for organic food are projected to create a healthy environment for agricultural films. In addition, farmers in these regions adopt advanced agricultural practices to produce more agricultural products. Thus, these regions are expected to indicate significant growth in the market during the forecast period.
Diverse Portfolio and Core Focus of BASF SE to bring the Company to a Leading Position
The competition landscape of this market depicts the dominance of BASF SE, with a diversified product portfolio of mulching, silage, and greenhouse films. The constant innovations, well-established distribution networks, and technical centers are the prominent factors responsible for the company's dominance. However, other companies such as Novamont, Berry Global Inc., Coveris, and AbRaniPlastOy are also key players in the global market with innovative products and technologies. The competitive rivalry among these companies to gain a more competitive edge is projected to impact the market positively. During the forecast period, technological advancements, new product development, and a strong distribution network are expected to aid market growth.
An Infographic Representation of Agricultural Films Market
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The report delivers qualitative and quantitative market insights and a comprehensive analysis of the market size & growth rate of different segments in the market. The market is segmented by material, application, and geography. The research report highlights key trends, supply chain analysis, regulatory scenarios, and recent industry developments. Further, the report elaborates on the market dynamics and competitive landscape.
Volume (Kiloton), Value (USD Billion)
By Material, Application, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 10.25 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 16.37 billion by 2029.
The market will exhibit steady growth of 6.3% CAGR during the forecast period.
Mulching is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The increasing demand for processed food and the introduction of more innovative technologies such as nano greenhouses are the key market drivers.
BASF SE, Novamont, Berry Global Inc., and Coveris are the leading players in the global market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in 2021.
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