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Strong Demand From High-Valued Agricultural Commodities to Lead the Global Market for Plant Growth Regulators

The plant growth regulators market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2017, to reach a value of USD 2.93 billion by 2022. The global demand for plant growth regulators is increasing significantly due to the growing demand for organic food. The market is further driven by factors such as rise in the need for food security for the growing population, advancement in farming practices and technologies, and high opportunities in developing countries.

How is the complicated product registration processes as pesticides posing challenges for manufacturers in the market?

As plant growth regulators provide strong premium value to the crops with high market prices, commodities such as cereals and grains face strong pressure on the cost front, which reduces the extent of application of plant growth regulators. As plant growth regulators are considered as pesticides even though they may be natural or synthetic, manufacturers are required to obtain registration through a complicated procedure that can take around 3.5 years in the case of countries in the EU region. Therefore, fertilizers and biostimulants are seen as better agricultural inputs to promote or inhibit broad-acre crops. Increased costs due to product development and regulatory time period led to increase in consumer prices, which again reduced the net profit value for growers. The decreased profit margins cannot help in improving the market share of plant growth regulators in the global agrochemicals market.

How is the need for a range of plant growth regulators for broad-acre crops presenting growth opportunities for manufacturers in the market?

Plant growth regulators have been tested to regulate crop height, increase stem strength, and enhance lodging resistance in crops such as wheat, rice, barley, rapeseed, and soybeans. Scientific evidences prove that plant growth regulators supplied to cereal crops at the stage of early stem elongation can help in reducing the crop height. According to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), plant growth regulators have been tested to produce better yields with significant responses in crops such as thicker stem walls, shorter plants, and less lodging. Lodging is prevalent in cereal crops, which is influenced by the structural morphology of plants and environmental conditions. As lodging affects the growth and development of plants, it leads to poor grain quality and high yield losses. Plant growth regulators are effectively found to prevent this damage caused to crops by improving cell wall thickness of lower stem wall thickness and help in the movement of nutrients and moisture for the development of seed kernels.

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According to USDA, 31% and 23% of the harvested area for cereals and grains have been utilized to grow wheat and rice, respectively, during 2016–2017. Soybeans accounted for 51% of the oilseed harvested area in the marketing year, 2016–2017. The opportunities in the application of plant growth regulators for these broad-acre crops can lead to significant growth of this market. Only few products have been released in this decade, with the recent launch of Manipulator from Engage Agro for spring wheat in 2015.

The method of application of plant growth regulators on soybean, canola, and wheat is crucial to gain market presence in this segment. Concentration of the solution, stage of application, and the combination of compound required play important roles in developing a product for market launch. Hence, companies are focusing on innovating more varieties for broad-acre crops.

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 a 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.

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Thus, with the increase in investments in the agricultural industry, farmers have increased access to various plant growth regulators, owing to the availability of better financial resources.

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