What's Driving the Surge in Biopesticides and Biofertilizers Amid the Rise of Organic Food?

07 May 2024

Advocacy for organic farming is on the rise as a preferred alternative to conventional methods, with a focus on reducing environmental harm. In 2022, organic food sales in the U.S. exceeded $60 billion for the first time, indicating the robustness of the organic industry. The global organic food sector's substantial expansion is expected to drive growth in the biopesticides and biofertilizers market.

Additionally, as per the 2022 United Nations Environment Programme Report, the adverse effects of pesticides on human health include both immediate and long-term consequences. Annually, approximately 385 million cases of non-fatal unintentional pesticide poisoning and around 11,000 fatalities are recorded.

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Factors Contributing to the Increasing Popularity of Organic Farming

The rise of organic farming can be traced back to a confluence of consumer trends and environmental concerns. Here are some of the key factors driving its growth:

  • Consumer Demand for Healthier Food: Many consumers are concerned about the potential health risks linked to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming. Organic farming practices, which avoid these chemicals, are seen to produce safer and potentially more nutritious food.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Organic farming emphasizes practices that promote soil health, conserve water, and reduce pollution. This resonates with a growing awareness of the environmental impact of conventional agriculture, which can be resource-intensive and contribute to problems like water contamination.
  • Government Support: Many governments recognize the benefits of organic farming and provide incentives for farmers to transition to organic methods. This support can come in the form of subsidies, grants, and research funding.
  • Economic Viability: While organic farming often requires more labor and upfront investment, the premium that consumers are willing to pay for organic products can make it a profitable venture for farmers. Additionally, organic farming can reduce reliance on expensive synthetic inputs.
  • Increased Knowledge Sharing: The spread of information about organic farming practices through online resources, workshops, and farmer networks is making it easier for new farmers to adopt these methods. This helps improve efficiency and productivity within the organic sector.

These factors are all contributing to a growing organic agriculture industry that is seen as a more sustainable and potentially healthier alternative to conventional farming methods.

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Role of Biopesticides and Biofertilizers in Organic Farming

While direct adverse health effects from fertilizers are rare, they can be significant during certain stages of the fertilizer life cycle. Examples of such impacts may include inhaling ammonia and dust particles from manure. Although accidents during storage and transport are uncommon, when they do happen, they can result in significant loss of human life. For instance, the incident in Tianjin, China, in 2015 led to 173 fatalities, while the incident in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2020, claimed 220 lives.

In contrast, biopesticides and biofertilizers, being chemical-free, do not pose residual effects that can harm humans, animals, or the environment. Consequently, the demand for biopesticides and biofertilizers is on the rise alongside the increasing popularity of organic foods.

According to BIS Research, the biopesticides and biofertilizers market was valued at $6,906.7 million in 2023, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.52% and reach $22,463.3 million by 2033.

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Bio-based alternatives demand fewer resources and hold the potential to alleviate pollution and soil degradation linked with conventional agriculture. Studies indicate that biopesticides and biofertilizers manufactured through sustainable means could significantly diminish environmental footprints, potentially resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently, in November 2022, Taiwan achieved a milestone by developing a toxin-free biopesticides effective against resilient pests. The nation is positioned to pioneer large-scale production of this groundbreaking product. This accomplishment marks a notable advancement in agricultural innovation and pest control within Taiwan's biopesticides and biofertilizers market.

Embracing bio-based solutions could contribute to a decline in antibiotic usage, thereby reducing the incidence of foodborne illnesses and fostering healthier ecosystems. With the sustainable agriculture market expanding, biopesticides and biofertilizers are poised to play a pivotal role in fulfilling the escalating need for eco-friendly farming practices.

Demand Drivers, Limitations, and Opportunities in the Biopesticides and Biofertilizers Market

The biopesticides and biofertilizers market is anticipated to witness significant growth in the coming years, driven by several key factors:

Demand Drivers

Consumers are increasingly health-conscious and prefer organic food products perceived as safer and more nutritious. Biopesticides and biofertilizers play a vital role in organic farming, propelling market growth. Growing awareness of the environmental impact of conventional pesticides and fertilizers is fostering a shift towards eco-friendly alternatives. Bio-based solutions offer a sustainable approach to crop protection and nutrient management.

Market Challenges

Biological products are susceptible to contamination and possess a relatively brief or restricted shelf life. As detailed in a publication in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives, a significant challenge with agricultural inoculation technology lies in the capacity of microorganisms to endure storage. Additional factors contributing to the shelf life of inoculants include water activity, sunlight exposure, culture mediums, the physiological condition of microorganisms upon harvest, and temperature control during storage. Furthermore, the compatibility of microbial inoculants with other agricultural products, like chemical fungicides and herbicides, poses another concern regarding their application in soil.

The following are some of the main technological barriers to the use of biological products:

  • Using ineffective and inappropriate strains for production
  • Insufficient technical, skilled, and experienced staff
  • The lack of superior carrier materials or the usage of alternative materials by manufacturers without verifying the material's quality
  • Limited shelf life as a result of numerous biotic and abiotic stress factors

Experts’ View

According to Debraj Chakraborty, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, “The biopesticides and biofertilizers market is likely to grow multi-fold in the coming years, owing to the rapidly growing demand for sustainable agriculture, increasing awareness of the environmental impact of chemical inputs, and increasing demand for organic produce. This increased interest aligns with increasing environmental awareness, shifting consumer preferences, and advancements in bio-agriculture, creating a favorable landscape for the widespread acceptance and expansion of the biopesticides and biofertilizers market.

Moreover, substantial investments in the biopesticides and biofertilizers market further reinforce its growth potential. As investors recognize the economic and environmental benefits of biopesticides and biofertilizers, increased funding is facilitating research, development, and scaling of production processes. The biopesticides and biofertilizers market is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years, and the key players in the market are focused on strategic partnerships, collaborations, mergers, and acquisitions to expand their market presence and enhance their product offerings.”