Soil conditioners are also known as soil amendments. Soil conditioners help improve soil structure by increasing aeration, water-holding capacity, and nutrients. Soil conditioners are increasingly gaining attention as potential erosion control practices. They include a range of products made from many different materials, both organic and inorganic. This article delves into the symbiotic relationship between soil conditioners and their application and explores how investors can play a pivotal role in uplifting agriculture and soil health.
Increasing Focus on Soil Management Practices Accelerates the Adoption of Soil Conditioners
Soil is composed of organic and inorganic materials that promote plant growth. Soil provides structural support to plants and is the medium through which water and nutrients are delivered. Soil quality is the capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystem and sustain plants, animals, and humans. Soil structure impacts plant growth as it determines the delivery of water, air, and nutrients to plants. Hence, agricultural yield depends on the quality of the soil.
Healthy soil promotes plant growth, nutrient cycling, and biological control of plant pests and regulates water and air supply. These functions are affected by the interrelated physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil; however, such issues can be overcome through soil management practices. Soil management is important for the maintenance and enhancement of soil quality. Soil management helps protect soil and improves its performance.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Council established the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) in December 2012; a vigorous campaign was conducted to promote sustainable soil management. After the revision of major policies and scientific advancements over the past three decades, the World Soil Charter, under the aegis of the GSP, established the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which includes objectives such as restoring degraded soil, striving to achieve a land degradation-neutral world, and implementing resilient agricultural practices that progressively improve soil quality and minimize soil contamination.
Moreover, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 15 of the 2030 Agenda aims to 'protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.'
Thus, the increasing focus on soil management practices is boosting the adoption of soil conditioners, driving market growth.
Consumers' Strong Demand for Organic Food and Growing Sustainable Organic Farming Boost the Use of Organic Soil Conditioners
Organic farming involves crop cultivation without the use of synthetic (chemical) fertilizers and pesticides. In organic cultivation, organic soil conditioners are used to improve soil health and increase crop yield. Organic soil conditioners are renewable, biodegradable, sustainable, and eco-friendly. They improve soil structure, increase the soil's water-holding capacity, and prevent groundwater contamination.
Chemical fertilizers are widely used to enhance agricultural production. However, chemical residues in food can be harmful and may lead to diseases. As food safety has become a major concern, consumers increasingly prefer chemical residue-free produce. Organic food is grown using natural fertilizers or organic soil conditioners. Consuming organic food can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, allergies, obesity, and many more health conditions.
Furthermore, several organizations are raising awareness about the negative effects of chemicals in food and promoting organic farming worldwide. In addition, various governments are undertaking initiatives to promote organic foods and organic cultivation across the globe. Therefore, there has been a drastic increase in the consumption of organic foods and the area of land under organic cultivation globally.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2021, organic agriculture was practiced in 187 countries, with 72.3 million hectares of agricultural land managed organically by at least 3.1 million farmers. The global sales of organic food and drink products crossed USD 118.7 billion (EUR 106 billion) in 2019. According to FIBL-IFOAM 2023, as of 2021, organic agriculture was practiced in 191 countries, with 76.4 million hectares of agricultural land managed organically by 3.7 million organic farmers.
Soil conditioners play an important role in organic farming as they combine naturally occurring and organically derived nutrients, provide plants with a healthy growing environment, and make the soil sustainable for future growing seasons. Soil conditioners also enhance plants' resistance against pests and abiotic stressors, such as drought, excess water, and extreme temperature changes. Hence, the extensive utilization of soil conditioners in organic farming and the rising demand for organic products are expected to support the growth of the soil conditioners market.
Growing Usage of Soil Conditioners from the Emerging Economies
The Asia-Pacific region accounts for around 30% of the total land on Earth and around 60% of the global population (Source: World Population Review). Asia-Pacific's high agricultural diversity and large arable lands hold immense growth opportunities for the players operating in the region's soil conditioners market.
According to the State Council Information Office, heavy rainfall affected 27 provinces in China, causing direct losses worth USD 26 billion, i.e., 0.21% of the country's estimated GDP in 2020. Moreover, from 2017 to 2019, floods in India caused crop losses on 18.1 million hectares (Mha) of land, which was about 8.5% of the total gross cropped area in the country. Also, around 0.34 million hectares (Mha) of crop area was damaged due to natural calamities (mostly floods and landslides) in the first four months of 2022–2023 (Source: National Disaster Management Authority, India). Natural calamities such as floods cause soil erosion, leading to poor soil quality. Hence, these factors are expected to drive the demand for soil conditioners to enhance soil quality in flood-prone areas.
Further, the APAC region has witnessed significant growth in organic farming, which is expected to increase the adoption of soil conditioners during the forecast period. For instance, according to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Asia held almost 6.5 million hectares of organic area in 2021, an increase of 5.8% over 2020.
Moreover, consumers in APAC countries such as China, Japan, and India are increasingly adopting organic products due to rising awareness regarding the health and environmental hazards caused by chemical inputs. China is promoting organic soil conditioners to reduce the use of chemical inputs in the country as a part of its Zero Growth of Chemical Fertilizer and Pesticide Use plan. In half of China's regions, average nitrogen fertilizer use levels exceed the internationally accepted limit of 225 kg per hectare. Such excessive use of chemical fertilizers has polluted water sources, contaminated the soil with heavy metals, and led to high chemical residues in food, compromising public health and agricultural productivity. Therefore, it is necessary to replace chemical fertilizers with safer alternatives. In 2021, China had around 2.7 million hectares of organic area, an increase of 13.1% over 2020 (Source: FiBL & IFOAM–Organics International, 2023).
Similarly, the Indian government has implemented the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), which includes the accreditation program for Certification Bodies (CB), organic production standards, and organic farming promotion. Also, According to FiBL‐IFOAM‐SOEL‐Surveys, in 2021, India had more than 2.66 million hectares of land under organic agriculture. Moreover, India's Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) stated that around 3.49 million MT of organic-certified products were produced in India in 2020–2021. Therefore, government initiatives to promote organic agriculture and large areas under organic cultivation in emerging economies are expected to generate growth opportunities for the players operating in the soil conditioners market.
Delivering Soil Conditioners Future: Insights from Soil Conditioners Market Analysis
Recent insights from Meticulous Research illuminate the path ahead for the Soil Conditioners Market. Projections forecast a potential worth of $8.8 billion by 2030, driven by a noteworthy Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.6% from 2023 to 2030.
Amid the unfolding narrative of the soil conditioners market's evolution, significant trends come to the fore. In the landscape of 2023, the organic sector is emerging as a pivotal player, propelled by a demand for the concerns regarding environmental and public health stemming from the use of chemical products, the increasing demand for chemical residue-free agricultural products, and supportive government initiatives aimed at promoting organic agricultural practices.
As the global canvas takes form, the Asia-Pacific region boasts a substantial market share in 2023. Notably, influential industry players, including BASF SE (Germany), Loveland Products, Inc. (U.S.), Aquatrols ( A Part of Lamberti S.P.A.) (U.S.), Jaipur Bio Fertilizers (India), Syngenta AG (A Part of China National Chemical Corporation/ChemChina) (Switzerland), UPL Limited (India), and others, span diverse regions and contribute to the seamless adoption of soil conditioners. In essence, this comprehensive overview from Meticulous Research serves as a gateway into the soil conditioners Market. It encapsulates a landscape of promise, reveals pivotal trends, and shines a spotlight on the diverse applications and contributors.
While living standards have improved, food availability has expanded and diversified. Consumers' access to services has increased, with negative consequences such as a corresponding increase in diet-related chronic diseases, especially among low-income groups, and health concerns related to high use of fertilizers. Moreover, growing land degradation and natural calamities, like floods, degrade soil quality. Hence, to improve the agricultural land quality and increase the yield of the crop, the use of soil conditioners is increasing at a rapid pace. Moreover, the increasing adoption of organic farming to fulfill the growing need for organic food is also expected to support the growth of the soil conditioners market.
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