The growing requirement for sustainability in agriculture and rising food production insecurity worldwide have led to a substantial increase in the demand for controlled release fertilizers.
The global food supply-demand imbalance has made way for a number of unprecedented challenges. In a bid to resolve the same, it is vital to increase crop production, which in consequence, is propelling the growth of controlled release fertilizers market worldwide. The relationship between population explosion and per capita cultivated agricultural land is getting inversely proportional by the day. This has led to agronomists and farmers worldwide transitioning to using long-lasting fertilizers that enable enhanced productivity.
One of the many ways to deal with this colossal demand is to undertake sustainable agricultural practices and solutions, which has increased the awareness pertaining to controlled release fertilizers.
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As per estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the world needs to produce 60% more food to suffice for a global population of 9.3 billion and more by 2050. This entails closing the gap between the presence of arable land and growing food requirements. According to the World Resource Institute research, to fulfill this demand, the world needs to reduce a 593 million-hectare land gap between the global agricultural land area in 2010 and anticipated agricultural expansion by 2050.
What has led to the increasing adoption of controlled release fertilizers?
Controlled release fertilizers (CRFs) are excipients needed to regulate or control nutrient release in crops, enhancing the nutrient supply and reducing ecological, environmental, and associated health hazards. Having recognized their incredible benefits in increasing agricultural productivity, prominent controlled release fertilizer market players are coming up with profitable initiatives that will help raise their production and supply.
Recently, Pursell made it to the news headlines for its partnership with Sollio Agriculture to augment the production of advanced controlled-release fertilizers. In 2021, both firms established a JV to build and operate a fertilizer coating plant in Ontario to increase the manufacturing of CRFs under an investment worth CAD 20 million. The facility will manufacture CRFs using Pursell’s coating materials and its exclusive processing technologies.
Some of the prominent trends that would shape the controlled release fertilizers market growth over 2016-2024 are enlisted below:
- Sulfur coated urea or PSCU fertilizers to improve crop quality
Some of the best controlled release fertilizer products available in the market include polymer sulfur coated urea or sulfur coated urea (SCU fertilizers), polymer coated NPK, and polymer coated urea. Out of these, sulfur coated urea fertilizers are gaining optimum attention worldwide.
Sulfur coated urea fertilizers are controlled-release fertilizers made by coating urea with sulfur and wax that increase nitrogen efficiency, reduce water pollution, and augment plant growth when compared to water soluble fast-release urea. Besides, the product also alleviates the frequency of fertilizer application thus reducing the overall cost, helping enhance the crop quality, and reducing the salt index.
Polymer coated sulfur coated urea fertilizers are evolved counterparts of the SCU fertilizers technology. Reports suggest that a polymer layer around sulfur offers more protection than wax, leading to a longer and more predictable nutrient release to the soil. This kind of fertilizer is also FDA-approved for its umpteen advantages for crop quality improvements.
Polymer sulfur coated urea or SCU fertilizers segment held 40% of controlled release fertilizer industry share in 2015 and is set to observe a 6% CAGR through 2024.
- Significant breakthroughs in the controlled release fertilizer industry
Ongoing investments, partnerships, acquisitions, and other strategic initiatives play a major role in propelling the controlled release fertilizer market growth. A snapshot of some of the key happenings is enlisted below:
- Profile Products’ acquisition of Florikan - Represents Profile’s plans of expanding its product portfolio to meet the growing consumer demand
In October 2021, Profile Products announced taking over Florikian – a pioneer in the production and distribution of controlled release fertilizers. As per official reports, the transaction encompasses all of Florikan’s product lines and units, including the firm’s production facility and expanding distribution center in Florida. Besides, the investment leverages the agronomic proficiency of both companies, expanding Profile’s ability to address the consumer’s service and product demands across its business segments.
- Pursell’s plans for new CRF plant construction in Savannah, Georgia - Represents new construction projects worldwide
Pursell, in 2021, publicized its plans of building a state-of-the-art production unit in the Savannah province of Georgia to potentially expand the reach of its next-generation coating technologies nationwide. Located near 2 rail lines and the country’s largest port for agricultural exports, the Savannah plant is anticipated to produce controlled-release fertilizers for specialty, horticulture, turf, ornamental, and other prominent markets.
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- Rise in sustainable agriculture practices in Africa - an upcoming revenue pocket for CFR industry
The African continent is currently witnessing severe food insecurity, a dire situation that is worsening further aided by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. As of 2020, nearly more than 1/3rd of the African population was malnourished. In the whole of Africa, close to 282 million people experience acute hunger.
Under such circumstances, governments across different African economies are laying out plans and initiatives to introduce sustainable farming and agriculture practices to bridge food insecurity in the continent. Speaking of which, the United Nations Development Program recently underlined the need for Ghana to adopt sustainable agricultural practices in the country.
Such advancements and initiatives in sustainable farming across the region are likely to push the sales of controlled release fertilizers in African nations including Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and others.
What is next for controlled release fertilizer market?
In the coming decades, the demand for controlled release fertilizers is speculated to grow significantly owing to the rising product application for improving vegetable and fruit yield, driven by the growing global population and food imbalance. In fact, the industry is likely to accumulate substantial profits from polymer coated fertilizer sales – mainly driven by groundbreaking innovations through 2024.
The rising sales can also be credited to the product’s many benefits such as reduction in nutrient losses, low labor requirement, increased nutrient use efficiency, curbing the chances of water pollution, and more. Global Market Insights Inc. estimates the CRF market size to cross USD 3.9 billion by 2024 end.
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