Surface acting agents, contracted as surfactants are dispersing agents that lower the surface tension between surfaces to enhance dispersion of selected material. These materials are used in various industries including food, textile, mining, and pharmaceuticals. Adebiotech, a French organization acting as a think tank for biotechnology developments in industrial sector stated that over 15 million tons of surfactants are produced annually.
Surfactants evolved as an integral part of agriculture owing to its potential in crop protection. The wetting, dispersing, and emulsifying properties of surfactants increase the efficiency of agrochemicals, thus effecting the productivity and overall agricultural practice. Surfactants are blended with fungicides, herbicides, and all other pesticides to reduce the water content in these agrochemicals. The global Agricultural Surfactants market valued USD 1.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period.
Global Agricultural Surfactants Market – Dynamics:
The need for pest management has been rising in both food and commercial crops to increase food production and quality of produce. The use of pesticides witnessed significant growth in all of its forms including fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides since decades and the rising consumption of pesticides is surging the growth of surfactants market. Furthermore, the growing population is poising significant increase in food demand and forcing farmers across the globe to increase crop production. According to the statistics of The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global population is likely to reach 10 billion by 2050 and would result in a growth of over 50% in agricultural demand as compared with 2018. Surfactants are an essential tool in the armory of farmers and crop growers in meeting growing demand in a sustainable way. Launch of high performance bio-based surfactants is likely to provide immense growth potential for global agricultural surfactants market. Growing awareness on effects of synthetic chemicals on environment is motivating farmers towards use of bio-based materials. The adverse effects of synthetic agricultural surfactants on environment is the major restraint for the growth of the market. Several state and federal governments regulated the use of these surfactants in agricultural chemicals.
The bio-based surfactants segment is likely to witness significant growth in near future owing to the ongoing research activities and recent product launches. In November 2018, U.K. based specialty chemicals company Croda International plc launched 100% bio-based surfactants for use in agrochemicals, construction materials, and other products.
Global Agricultural Surfactants Market –Market Segmentation:
The global agricultural surfactants market has been segmented by application into herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, plant growth regulators, and others. Herbicides evolved as the largest use formulation for agricultural surfactants, followed by fungicides. As herbicides are mostly water, the use of surfactants are highly used in herbicide formulations to prevent its roll-off into soil and hold it on targeted plant species. With a share of over 50%, non-ionic surfactants evolved as the largest segment of global agricultural surfactants by type owing to its wide use in herbicide formulations. Anionic surfactants, cationic surfactants, and atmospheric surfactants are other commonly used surfactants in agrochemicals.
By geography, global agricultural surfactants market is segmented into North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Large use of pesticides in countries such as China, India, and Australia made Asia Pacific as the major market for agricultural surfactants. Growing practice of precision farming and use of effective crop protection tools such as air-assisted chemical spraying is boosting the need for high performance adjuvants, thus boosting the market growth in this region. However, countries such as Brazil, The U.S., and France are also holding significant share in the global market owing to well-established crop protection markets.
The global Agricultural Surfactants market is consolidated with the dominance of companies such as Syngenta AG, BASF SE, ADAMA Agricultural Solutions, Monsanto, and Nufarm. The market is highly competitive with the likes of new product registrations, launches, and remarkable acquisitions.
All the major agrochemical manufacturers are witnessing lucrative growth in crop protection business. For instance,
• Nufarm, an Australia based agricultural chemical company has witnessed a sales growth of 6.1% in its crop protection business during 2017-2018. The sales revenue of the segment reached $3.12 billion in 2018
• The sales revenue of crop protection products from Syngenta AG increased from $9,739 million in 2017 to $10,413 million in 2018, thus resulting a growth of 7%
Other key players in the market are Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Solvay, Loveland Products, Croda International plc, Evonik Industries AG, and Wilbur-Ellis Holdings II, Inc.