The report “Plant Growth Regulators Market by Type (Auxins, Cytokinins, Gibberellins, Ethylene), Crop Type (Cereals & Grains, Fruits & Vegetables, Oilseeds & Pulses, Turf & Ornamentals), Formulation, Function, Origin, and Region – Forecast to 2022″, The plant growth regulators market is estimated to be valued at 2.11 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach a value of USD 2.93 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period. The market is driven by factors such as growing consumer preference for organic foods, new product registrations, increase in arable land and technological advancements in the agricultural industry.
Consumer shift toward organic foods
Plant growth regulators, along with biostimulants, have been gaining importance as an integral part of organic farming practice. Plant growth regulators, especially extracted from seaweeds, have been strongly supported for their natural origin.
The organic food industry has been gaining popularity since the last decade for the high premium value achieved by the farm produce. Organic farming is one of the fastest-growing industries, worldwide. In Europe, organic farming developed into a strong market for plant growth regulators. According to Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) 2013, the organic farmlands in Europe accounted for 27% of the global organic farmland of 43.1 million hectares. The use of plant growth regulators is projected to increase the profit margins of high-value fruits & vegetables. Permanent organic croplands, utilized mostly for the cultivation of fruits, cocoa, coffee, and other cash crops, accounted for 7.4% of the global organic agricultural land in 2013.
According to data published by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) for the US organic sales, “organic fruits & vegetables retained its longstanding spot as the largest of all the major organic categories with sales of USD 14.4 billion in 2015, up by 10.5% from the previous year. The demand for fresh organic food was the most evident in the continued growth of fresh juices and drinks, which witnessed a growth rate of 33.5% in 2015, making it the fastest-growing of all the organic subcategories. The fastest-growing of the eight major organic categories were condiments, which crossed the USD 1 billion mark in sales for the first time in 2015, at a growth rate of 18.5%.”
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to show double-digit growth, and sales of organic products were valued at USD 28.4 billion, constituted over 4% of the total US food sales in 2014.
To improve fruit ripening, leaf ripening, and seed propagation, the agricultural practice involving the use of natural growth regulators has been gaining strong demand in the cultivation of organic fruits and cash crops.
Organic farming is also estimated to benefit from subsidies, financial aids, and R&D programs by government authorities (APEDA, India); organic certification agencies such as INDOCERT (India) and OCIA (Organic Crop Improvement Association, US); and non-government organizations such as FiBL (Switzerland) and USDA (US) to support conventional farmers to switch to organic farming.
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Long approval period for new products
The approval process of plant growth regulators is very lengthy, due to multi-location field trials and residual effects. Due to the stringent regulatory approval process, the average time taken to bring a new crop protection product to market can exceed 10 years and cost more than USD 100 million. The patent protection and exclusivity are critical in helping companies recover the costs of research & development, incentivizing them to make future investments that will lead to continued industry-wide growth. Increased costs due to product development and greater regulatory time period led to increase in retail prices, which again reduced the net profit value for growers. The decreased profit margins cannot help in improving the share of plant growth regulators in the global agrochemicals market.
Even for the generic products, it can take up to five years to get the product registered. The regulatory bodies do not have adequate resources and infrastructure to execute timely registration of products. At times, the rules are not clearly defined, creating interpretation challenges for the regulatory bodies, leading to confusion, thereby adding to the complexities for the crop protection chemical companies.
Rise in investment in agricultural activities in developing countries
Agricultural production requires expenditure on inputs, in order to optimize the output from a particular cropping cycle. These expenses pertain to the cost of buying seeds, agrochemicals, machinery, and other miscellaneous expenses. In case of relatively smaller farm sizes, it is not feasible to optimize the production based on productivity enhancing inputs, as this involves costs that farmers are unable to bear. In the developing economies of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the investment made in agricultural activities is not adequate, resulting in sub-optimum production, in terms of quality and quantity. This phenomenon has its implications on the overall food security and the standard of living of the population engaged in the primary sector.
Emerging markets such as India and Brazil have strong production of fruits & vegetables and cotton, respectively. These markets not only boost the growth of plant growth regulators in high-value crop segments, but can also improve the growth in high-volume crops such as cereals and oilseeds. The cost effectiveness is not suitable in these countries for growers to utilize plant growth regulators during the cultivation of cereals and oilseeds.
By prioritizing domestic food security, several countries in the Middle Eastern region, and even China, have taken up the unutilized arable land in the Sub-Saharan region for agricultural activities. To subsidize food products, Gulf countries and some Asian countries have initiated national programs to acquire farmland around the world to secure food production.
Thus, with the increase in investments in the agricultural industry, farmers have increased access to various plant growth regulators, owing to availability of better financial resources.
Lack of awareness regarding benefits of PGR
Plant growth regulators are chemical substances that influence the growth and differentiation of plant cells, tissues, and organs. The usage of plant growth regulators can increase crop productivity to a great extent. It has been found that a considerably large number of farmers are still unaware of the different types of plant growth regulators available and their accurate and appropriate method of application. Also, many farmers are unaware of the cost benefits associated with these growth regulators.
According to the Yale Environment 360 magazine, published by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University in 2015, farmers are still in the practice of following the conventional agriculture system and are focusing on the usage of fertilizers and chemicals, as against to looking for new solutions to eradicate pests and harmful microbes; these solutions need dedicated supply-side efforts to spread awareness among farmers.
Organic farming is a complex process and the growers need to have a very high level of skill & knowledge related to this niche market to achieve the desired effect and result, however, there has been limited exchange of organic farming techniques among farmers in developing regions. Hence, a lack of awareness about plant growth regulators poses as a challenge for plant growth regulators providing players as well as the market. This can be overcome with the help of the right distribution channel to spread the awareness among farmers.
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