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Agricultural Adjuvants Market Overview
The global agricultural adjuvants market was valued at $2,777.6 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $3,778.9 million by 2023, witnessing a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period. The growth of the market is primarily driven by the increasing demand for agricultural adjuvants to improve pesticide efficacy and, thereby, crop yield.
Agricultural adjuvant can be defined as a substance that is added to improve the properties and performance of a pesticide formulation. Adjuvants are added to herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticide formulations (including bactericides).
GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL ADJUVANTS MARKET, BY APPLICATION, KILOTONS (2013-2023)
On the basis of function, the agricultural adjuvants market is categorized into activator and utility adjuvants. Of these, activator adjuvants are bifurcated into surfactants and oil-based adjuvants. Surfactants are further classified into non-ionic, ionic, and amphoteric types. Oil-based adjuvants, on the other hand, are classified into vegetable oil- and petroleum oil-based products. Also, utility adjuvants are further classified into compatibility agents, buffers/acidifiers, anti-foaming agents, water conditioners, drift control agents, and others.
In terms of volume, activator adjuvants accounted for more than 65.0% share in the agricultural adjuvants market in 2017. This can be attributed to the advantages offered by these adjuvants, such as reduced surface tension and rainfastness and increased absorption of pesticides across the foliar surface. Moreover, certain activator adjuvants can even perform the functions of utility adjuvants.
Application areas of agricultural adjuvants include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and others. In terms of volume, herbicides accounted for the largest share in the agricultural adjuvants market during the historical period. Herbicides find wide application in winter cereals and broadleaf crops. Moreover, herbicides have a high degree of compatibility with a wide range of adjuvants, including petroleum concentrate-based and vegetable oil-based adjuvants and non-ionic surfactants.
On the basis of chemical group, the agricultural adjuvants market is categorized into alkoxylates, organosilicones, sulfonates, and others. Alkoxylates held the largest share in the market in 2017, accounting for more than 50.0% in terms of sales volume. Globally, alcohol-based derivatives of alkoxylates are preferred for the treatment of broadleaf weeds, owing to their non-ionic and non-reactive nature. Thus, owing to these advantages in a wide range of applications, the demand for these adjuvants is expected to increase during the forecast period.
The agricultural adjuvants market is also classified into built-in and tank-mix formulations. In terms of sales volume, built-in formulations accounted for more than 80.0% share in the market in 2017. Generally, farmers and other agrochemical applicators prefer built-in formulations over their tank-mix counterparts, due to their advantages such as ease of application, low cost, and negligible chances of improper mixing. Tank-mix adjuvants, on the other hand, add complexity to the product chemistry and can negatively affect the wettability and spreadability of the formulation. This, thus, limits the adoption of tank-mix adjuvants to some extent.
Based on crop type, the agricultural adjuvants market is categorized into cereals and grains, oilseeds and pulses, fruits and vegetables, and others. Cereals and grains held the largest market share in 2017, accounting for nearly 45.0% in terms of volume. With increasing global population and shrinking arable land, there is an increased pressure to maximize crop yield from existing farmlands and agricultural installations. The increasing demand for food grains is, therefore, expected to support the market growth of agricultural adjuvants during the forecast period.
Globally, North America was the largest market for crop adjuvants, accounting for nearly 30.0% revenue in 2017. This can be attributed to the presence of a large number of local manufacturers coupled with high product differentiation, increased customer acceptance, and favorable government regulations. In the U.S., federal regulations governing the application of adjuvants are virtually non-existent. Additionally, the growing penetration of activator adjuvants and introduction of novel, cheaper products are expected to contribute to the growth of the agricultural adjuvants market in the country in the coming years.
Agricultural Adjuvants Market Dynamics
The major trend identified in the agricultural adjuvants market is the shift in preference from chemically synthesized adjuvants to environment-friendly agricultural adjuvants. Traditionally, adjuvants are chemically synthesized from derivatives of alkoxylates, sulfonates, organosilicones, and amines. These chemicals are non-environment-friendly and possess a toxicological profile. In addition, a majority of these agrochemicals have been identified as phytotoxic, which is suggestive of their potential threat to the food chain in case of absorption by the seeds, roots, and soil. However, recent advancements in adjuvant development emphasize the synthesis of non-toxic, biodegradable, and environment-friendly adjuvants. Companies, therefore, are increasingly diversifying their portfolios to include bio-based adjuvants.
Increasing population is expected to create pressure on existing farmlands and agricultural installations, necessitating the application of pesticides and adjuvants to maximize crop productivity and yield. According to the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the global population was 7.6 billion in 2017, and it is expected to reach nearly 9.8 billion by 2050, growing by 30.9% in the next 33 years. This additional population, of nearly 2.2 billion, is expected to create a supplementary demand for food crops, horticulture crops, and cash crops in the coming years. This, in turn, will contribute to the growth of the agricultural adjuvants market in the coming years.
Globally, the agricultural sector is expected to witness increased investments and capital flows to support the development of new products and maximize revenue in the coming years. These investments are expected to come from agrochemical conglomerates, venture capitalists, and inter-governmental agencies. Moreover, investments in agrochemicals will also lead to the development of novel adjuvants, improvement in product performance, and advancements in the adjuvant spray technology. This, in turn, will help in the rapid commercialization of crop adjuvants in developed and developing economies, thus boosting the growth of the agricultural adjuvants market.
Agricultural adjuvants function as additives in agrochemicals and are majorly synthesized from chemicals. Some of these chemicals and their derivatives have a debatable chemical profile. They have been identified as toxic and unfit for human consumption and have been found to affect foliar toxicity as well. The repeated use of such chemicals is likely to increase their presence in groundwater and soil, which, in turn, may result in biomagnification, affecting the entire food chain. Thus, the rising health concerns have impelled governments and regulatory agencies to impose rules and regulations on the production and usage of adjuvants. This, in turn, is hindering the growth of the agricultural adjuvants market.
Agricultural Adjuvants Market Competitive Landscape
Some of the major players operating in the global agricultural adjuvants market are DowDuPont Inc., BASF SE, Akzo Nobel N.V., Solvay S.A., Clariant AG, Croda International PLC, Brandt Consolidated Inc., Huntsman Corporation, Evonik Industries AG, Stepan Company, Wilbur-Ellis Holdings Inc., and Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC.