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The global agricultural inoculants market size was USD 867.6 million in 2019. The manufacturers of agricultural inoculants are spread across the world; however, the impact of COVID-19 was minimal on the market. According to our analysis, the market is projected to grow from USD 956.7 million in 2020 to USD 1,939.9 million in 2027 at a CAGR of 10.6% in the 2020-2027 period.
Agricultural Inoculants, also known as soil or microbial inoculants, comprise beneficial microorganisms. These beneficial microbes work as bio-fertilizers or plant growth promoters and biopesticides. The use of inoculants in agriculture is widespread globally for different crops. Furthermore, microbial inoculants help in lowering the impact caused by agrochemicals on the environment.
The growing demand for organically produced food and increasing concerns regarding the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers drive the demand for crop inoculants.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Growth of Inoculants Market
Key players operating in the global inoculants market are Bayer (Germany), BASF (Germany), and Novozymes (Denmark), and Rhizobacter (Argentina). The manufacturing and service facilities of these companies are spread across various regions in the globe. Thus, the lockdown implementation in different countries had a slight impact on these companies. However, there was no major impact on the supply chain of inoculant products.
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Surging Trend of Consumption of Organic Food to Fuel Growth
Organic food is either grown under the natural system of agriculture or processed from organically produced raw materials. The rising popularity of organic products is associated with the health benefits provided by their consumption.
Developed regions including North America and Europe are the major consumers of organic food. The dominance of both regions can be attributed to the rising awareness regarding the benefits of organic food and the increasing availability of organic food & beverage products in supermarkets.
Additionally, organic foods are gaining popularity due to other factors such as GMO-free content, nutrient richness, zero antibiotics, zero growth hormones, lesser pesticides, and better environmental stability. Thus, with increased awareness amongst individuals, organic food will soon replace all conventional food items in consumers’ homes.
Rising Concern Regarding the Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides to Spur Demand
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used in various agricultural practices to provide nutrition and protect crops from insects, diseases, and harmful weeds. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 4.1 million tonnes of pesticides were utilized in 2018 worldwide. China is the major consumer of pesticides and is followed by the U.S. and Brazil. In addition, the global demand for fertilizers in 2019 was 191,198 thousand tonnes. Thus, to ensure food security for the rising population across the globe, agrochemicals are applied in large quantities. Although the application of agrochemicals is beneficial from a agricultural production point of view, the extensive use of the same can possess harmful effects because of their bio-magnification and persistent nature.
Agrochemicals are used in modern agriculture and are considered an effective way of enhancing the yield quality and quantity of crops. However, in the due course of time, these agrochemicals get accumulated in the soil, plant parts, water, air, and biota, thereby leading to contamination of soil and water, causing a threat to the environment.
Increasing Popularity of Organic Farming to Drive Growth
The adoption of organic farming is increasing worldwide due to the growing awareness regarding the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, the area under organic cultivation is rising globally.
For instance, according to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), organic farmland increased by 2.0 million hectares from 2017 and reached 71.5 million hectares in 2018. Moreover, it was reported that there were 2.8 million organic producers in 2018 globally. The rising number of organic producers and the growing area of organic farming is estimated to boost the demand for nature-based or organically sourced agricultural inputs such as agricultural inoculants.
Limited awareness and shelf life to Hinder Growth
Farmers in developing nations are still unaware or have limited knowledge about the benefits of agricultural inoculants. Although agricultural biologicals are perceived to have a positive impact on the crop and environment; various farmers in developing nations are considered to be slow (in terms of efficacy) when compared with the ones using chemical inoculants. The acceptance is quite low in developing economies, such as Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa. In addition, in countries including India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Argentina, a large population is dependent on agriculture as a major source of income. The farmers there are not willing to take risks during their crop production, thereby limiting the use of inoculants.
According to industry experts, some dealers in India are not willing to stock and sell crop inoculants due to their limited shelf life. Thus, limited awareness and shelf life are expected to hinder the agricultural inoculants market growth.
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Cereals to Hold the Major Share
Based on crop type, the cereals segment holds the major share owing to the high application of inoculants in countries including the U.S., Spain, China, and Brazil on cereals crops such as corn, wheat, and rice.
According to FAO, in 2019, the global area harvested under cereal crops was 498 million hectares, which was above 50% of the global crop area harvested. The large acreage compared to other crops signifies the dominance of cereals over the other crops.
The oilseeds & pulses segment is projected to grow at the fastest CAGR as various companies, such as Bayer, Novozymes, and Lallemand Plant Care, are launching products that will have high application in oilseeds and pulses. Also, the growth of the oilseeds & pulses segment is driven by the increasing application of inoculants on soybean, canola, beans, and peas in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
Bacterial to Emerge as the Most Applied Inoculant
Based on the microbe, the market is segmented into bacterial, fungal, and others. The bacterial segment is likely to emerge as the most widely used microbe as species or strains of Rhizobium, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Bacillus spp., and Pseudomonas have huge applications either as biofertilizers or biopesticides. Also, numerous companies are investing in producing a blend of bacterial species with other plant growth promoting microorganisms.
The fungal inoculant segment is projected to exhibit the highest growth rate due to the increasing use of Penicillium sp. as a phosphate solubilizer and rising awareness regarding the use of Trichoderma species as a biocontrol agent.
Seed Treatment to Hold Major Market Share Owing to Ease of Application and Effectiveness
Inoculants are applied using different mode of application methods such as seed treatment, soil or in-furrow application, root dipping, and foliar application. Seed treatment or seed inoculants dominate the global market owing to their effectiveness, ease of application, and high preference in the U.S. and European countries.
Soil treatment gets more preference in Asia Pacific and Latin America mainly due to the high adoption of inoculants as biofertilizers in crops such as corn, soybean, rice, and sugarcane.
Other mode of application methods, such as root dipping and foliar sprays, are also used to apply liquid or powder-type inoculants. Foliar sprays are mainly preferred when the inoculant is being applied as a biocontrol while root dipping is preferred when the inoculant is applied as a biofertilizer on Plant-Growth Promoter (PGP).
North America Agricultural Inoculants Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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North America valued at USD 294.2 million in 2019 and is anticipated to remain at the forefront during the forecast period. The cultivation of major inoculant-consuming crops, such as corn, soybean, and canola, in the U.S. and Canada is set to accelerate the growth of agricultural inoculants in the North American region. Additionally, the faster adoption of new technologies to improve crop productivity while minimizing the negative impact on the environment will support market growth.
The agricultural inoculants market in South America is estimated to grow at the fastest CAGR in the coming years. This can be attributed to the large application of inoculants in major countries including Brazil and Argentina. Also, the expansion of Rizobacter, the third-largest inoculant company based in Argentina, drives the growth of the regional market.
Countries including Spain, Italy, and France are large consumers of microbes as biofertilizers and biocontrol agents. Further, Europe has the second-largest agriculture area under organic agriculture according to FAO and this is likely to drive the regional market.
The growth of the inoculants market in Asia Pacific can be primarily attributed to the large area under organic agriculture, especially in countries including Australia, China, and India. Also, the large area under rice cultivation requires the application of biofertilizers for nitrogen fixation while biocontrol microbial for the cultivation of fruits & vegetables.
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Companies Focus on Innovative Product Launches for Broadening Their Portfolios
The market is fragmented with the presence of large and small enterprises operating globally. The increasing popularity of the product has significantly led to its increasing demand. Companies, such as BASF, Bayer, Corteva, and Rizobacter, are concentrating on new product launches and strategic expansions of their businesses for portfolio broadening and meeting the demands. For instance, in August 2020, Lallemand Plant Care Canada launched LALFIX PROYIELD LIQUID SOYBEAN, a new inoculant that combines two unique strains of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
An Infographic Representation of Agricultural Inoculants Market
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The agricultural inoculants market research report provides qualitative and quantitative insights into the market. It also offers a detailed analysis of the market size and growth rate for all possible market segments. Various key insights presented in the report are an overview of related markets, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in critical countries, and key market trends.
Value (USD Million)
By Crop Type
By Application Method
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 867.6 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 1,939.9 million by 2027.
Rising at a CAGR of 10.6%, the market will exhibit promising growth during the forecast period (2020-2027).
Cereals are expected to be the leading segment based on crop type during the forecast period.
The increasing adoption of organic farming expected to act as a boosting factor for market growth.
BASF SE, Bayer AG, Corteva, and Rizobacter are a few of the key players in the market.
North America dominated the market share in 2019.
Bacterial inoculant will lead the microbe segment in the global market during the forecast period.
The increasing consumption of organic produce is the key market trend.
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