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The global agricultural microbials market size was valued at USD 5.27 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 6.00 billion in 2022 to USD 15.71 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 14.74% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with agricultural microbials experiencing a lower than expected demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of 8.70% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Agricultural microbials consist of microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses that are favorable for aiding numerous agricultural practices such as soil improvement and crop protection. Microbes are an important active ingredient in biostimulants that help improve crop yields. They are an effective substitute for synthetic agrochemicals. Furthermore, microbes have functional superiority that encourages crop development by aiding the soil microbiota by increasing soil fertility and enhancing nutrient uptake. This led to cumulative efforts by various governments and market players to promote such microbes as sustainable biochemicals. For instance, the Indian government under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) provides financial assistance for promotion of biofertilizer (Rhizobium/PSB) at 50% of the cost limited to USD 3.80 per hectare. The increasing new product launches due to rising awareness and branding among the farmers are factors expected to contribute to the market's growth. For instance, according to data published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by the end of 2019, it approved approximately 1,401 biopesticides listings, involving nearly 400 active ingredients, in which microbial pesticides accounted for 36%, biochemical pesticides accounted for 57.5%, and other miscellaneous accounted for 6.5%. The increasing popularity of biopesticides and biofertilizers is likely to drive the global market during the forecast period.
Supply Chain Disruption Due to COVID-19 Lead to Slight Decline in Market Growth
The global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to various challenges faced by the global economy and the agriculture sector. Border closures and restricted movements due to lockdown imposition caused discrepancies in the supply chain. Market closures and interrupted travel have impacted the demand negatively. This factor also led to considerable decline and delay in the transportation of agricultural commodities.
However, the market witnessed a mixed scenario in terms of sales of biostimulants and biofertilizers due to some key players witnessing an increase in their product sales. For instance, BASF SE and Syngenta witnessed a growth in their annual sale of biologicals despite the challenging market conditions. Syngenta observed a 2% increase in its overall sales in 2020 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, the various efforts taken up by market players such as Novozymes and Valent Biosciences to launch an educational website for supporting the farmers and promoting sustainable crop production are expected to boost its sales in the forthcoming years.
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Strong Emphasis on Organic Agriculture Practices to Stimulate Market Growth
The growing trend of organic farming to lower the harmful impact on the environment and achieve sustainability contributed to the market growth. The growth potential of organic agriculture practices is anticipated to support the demand for agricultural microbials. This factor is also anticipated to surge natural plant growth regulators and crop protection products in the forthcoming years. According to a 2019 Organic Survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, there has been a rise of 17% in certified organic farms in the U.S. between 2016 to 2019. Several governments' strong emphasis on adopting organic farming has increased the acceptance of the product globally.
Increasing Awareness Regarding Utilization of Synthetic Chemicals to Favor Market Growth
The use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers has shown detrimental effects on human health and the environment. Numerous efforts are undertaken to improve agricultural management practices as synthetic fertilizers cause widespread damage to the ecology. According to the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organization, synthetic fertilizers account for 13% of the total agricultural Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Leading players and various government and non-government organizations offer sustainable agricultural practices by providing subsidies and funds on agricultural microbials, which act as a valuable ingredient for sustainable agriculture practices.
Increasing Population and Demand for Food Security to Propel Growth
The adoption of microbials has certain benefits such as increased crop yield, nutrient uptake, and organic cultivation. The ever-growing global population, coupled with the increasing demand for sustainable farming, is a driver for the market growth. There is a growing awareness among the general public regarding the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals on health. Moreover, the high demand for microbials for sustainable crop intensification is expected to favor market growth. This factor boosts their popularity and demand as a biological source to improve production, and their incorporation in integrated farming practices is likely to narrow the yield gaps. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly nature of microbials is expected to fuel the agricultural microbials market growth.
Lower Product Adoption to Impede Market Growth
In addition to various benefits of agricultural microbials, they are witnessed to have relatively low adoption rates than synthetic chemicals. This is attributed to the lack of awareness and low commercialization of biologicals. There are considerable challenges with the utilization of microbes and their mode of application. For instance, the microbial culture used for seed treatment damages the accessibility of sowing seeds. Furthermore, the storage stability of microbials hampers their effective utilization as they have low on-seed survival rates. Hence, farmers often refrain from using microbes.
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Bacteria to Hold Major Share in Industry Backed by Its Wide Utilization in the Formulation of Biopesticides, Biofertilizers, and Biostimulants
The wide utilization of bacteria in formulating biopesticides, biofertilizers, and biostimulants is the main factor expected to boost its demand in the forthcoming years. Bacteria perform various growth-promoting functions in plants, and some even have been implicated as protective bacteria that subdue the root-fungus disease. In addition, there are numerous bacteria strains readily available in the environment and are the most commonly found microorganism in the soil (~95%).
The fungi segment holds a significant share in the market as it has proven to be extremely beneficial to the plants by acting as a Plant Growth-Promoting Fungi (PGPF). They have been reported to increase germination, seedling vigor, flowering, and yield, which is expected to contribute to their increased utilization.
Liquid Formulation Segment to Dominate the Global Market Owing to its Easier Usage and Compatibility with Modern Irrigation Systems
The liquid formulation of the product is anticipated to account for the largest share in the market due to its ease of application. It is comparatively convenient to the dry formulation and can be directly used as sprays, drenches, and root dips. Moreover, it does not require any previous procedures, such as mixing, which helps avoid spoilage.
However, the dry formulation of microbials is getting significant traction among the growers, owing to its ease of storage, transportation, and longer shelf-life. It is also widely used for seed treatment. It is effective where moisture from spraying might cause damage and requires simpler application equipment.
Foliar Spray to be Mostly Utilized Application Technique due to its High-Effectiveness in Improving Overall Plant Health
The foliar spray segment holds a major share in the market due to its benefits over other application methods. The nutrient uptake is much faster in the foliar spray technique as the foliage rapidly absorbs the nutrients, thus providing essential nutrients to the crops. Furthermore, the foliar spray technique is easy to apply and acts as a prompt correction treatment of deficiency and diseases in plants.
Soil Amendment Segment to Exhibit Significant Growth due to Benefits Such as Higher Nitrogen Content in Soil and Improved Production
The wide utilization of agricultural microbials for crop protection is expected to drive the soil amendment segment growth during the forecast period. Microbial-based solutions have proven to effectively control numerous plant pests and diseases. The farmers have started using these microbes as sustainable and cost-effective solutions for crop protection. Furthermore, its increased adoption in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices is likely to increase the demand for microbes.
The adoption of agricultural microbials in soil amendment is growing due to benefits such as increased nitrogen content in soil for better yield. This factor is expected to boost the segment's growth in the forthcoming years.
Fruits & Vegetables to Exhibit Notable Growth Attributed to the Rising Demand for Organic Fruits & Vegetables
The demand for high-value crops such as fruits and vegetables is rising gradually across the globe due to the high remuneration factor associated with such crops. Agricultural microbials help in providing essential nutrients to these crops. The surging demand for organic fruits and vegetables is likely to promote the utilization of the microbials for their cultivation. Furthermore, microbials for fruits and vegetable cultivation are much more economical. This factor is projected to boost its demand during the forecast period.
Other crops, such as cereals and pulses & oilseeds, turn toward adopting microbials to achieve higher yields and sustainability. Microbes, such as fungi and bacteria, help increase photosynthesis in cereal crops such as rice. It also aids in increasing crop survival in drought and nutrient limitation-like conditions. Oilseeds and pulses support effective nutrient uptake, nodulation, seed yield, and plant growth.
North America Agricultural Microbials Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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North America accounted for the largest agricultural microbials market share and stood at USD 2.09 billion in 2021. This factor is due to farmers' increasing awareness about the environmental benefits of such microbials and the rising adoption of organic farming practices. The region promotes the utilization of microbes by enabling policy and regulatory frameworks. Agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), encourage research and development activities to achieve microbial diversity and provide long-term availability of plant-associated microbes. Furthermore, the prominent players operating in the region are capitalizing on launching new products and strategic partnerships for providing microbial solutions to achieve efficient and sustainable farming. For instance, in July 2019, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. announced the launch of BioUnite to provide growers with integrated pest management programs.
Europe is projected to account for the second-largest market share during the forecast period. Stringent regulations and harmful effects of synthetic chemicals have shifted toward microbials, which is expected to drive the market. The rapid expansion of organic farming in Germany, Italy, Denmark, and Spain has led to increasing utilization of biopesticides and biofertilizers.
South America is expected to emerge as the fastest-growing region as farmers have started to replace chemical fertilizers with microbials, which is anticipated to boost its regional sales. Furthermore, the high profitability of organic farming and the increasing support from government and non-government organizations are expected to fuel market growth.
The rising awareness regarding the benefits of microbial-based crop protection products and their ability to improve soil fertility in Asia Pacific supports the overall market growth. India and China are majorly agriculture-dependent, and they contribute a significant share of their GDPs. Furthermore, these countries have started prioritizing environmental protection and restoration, which led to the adoption of agricultural microbials. Thus, it is expected to open untapped opportunities for agri-microbes to flourish in the region.
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The Middle East & Africa is experiencing significant traction toward these microbes to reduce and even replace synthetic agrochemicals. The farmers and producers have started to adopt agri microbes as safe agricultural inputs. This factor is expected to contribute to the regional market growth during the forecast period.
Increasing Prominent Players Focus on Research and New Product Launches for Portfolio Broadening
The global market is consolidated with the presence of prominent players worldwide. Companies, such as Certis USA LLC, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., Koppert Biological Systems, BASF SE, and Valent Biosciences, LLC, are focusing on research and development of new product developments to widen their portfolio and maintain their strong foothold in the global marketplace.
An Infographic Representation of Agricultural Microbial Market
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The global 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. Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key recent industry developments, such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in critical countries, and key industry trends, are mentioned in the report.
Value (USD Billion)
By Application Method
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 5.27 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 15.71 billion by 2029.
The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.74% during the forecast period.
The bacteria segment is expected to be the leading segment during the forecast period based on type.
The increasing population and the growing demand for food security are major factors driving the market growth.
Certis USA LLC, Marrone Bio Innovations, Koppert Biological Systems, BASF SE, and Valent Biosciences, LLC are a few of the key players in the market.
North America held the dominant position in 2021.
The foliar spray application segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.
New product launches, extensive focus on research, and collaboration are the key trends driving the market growth.
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