The Next Big Agri-input Sector: Biologicals

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19 October 2023, New Delhi: Agricultural biologicals are a category of agricultural inputs derived from natural sources, such as microorganisms, plants, and organic materials. They are used in farming to enhance crop growth, protect plants from pests and diseases, and improve overall agricultural sustainability. Unlike traditional chemical pesticides and fertilizers, agricultural biologicals harness the power of nature to promote healthier and more resilient crops. These biological products include biopesticides, which are used to control pests and diseases through non-toxic mechanisms, and bio-stimulants, which enhance plant growth and development. In recent years, agricultural biologicals have gained prominence due to their environmentally friendly nature, lower chemical residue, and compatibility with organic farming practices.

RK Goyal, Managing Director (South Asia, SEA & ANZ), Verdesian Life Sciences LLC

The global agricultural biologicals market size reached US$ 12.4 Billion in 2022. Going forward, the market is expected to reach US$ 28.3 Billion by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 15% during 2023-2028. The Indian biological market size reached INR 62,249 million in 2022. Going forward, the market is expected to reach INR 97,147 million by 2028, exhibiting a growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% during 2023-2028. Favorable government initiatives, escalating consumer awareness regarding the benefits of practicing bio-agriculture, and the rising demand for organic food products represent some of the key factors driving the market.

There are three key segments within the biological sector: bio-pesticides, bio-fertilizers, and bio-stimulants. Bio-pesticides are natural or biological substances derived from microorganisms, plants, or other natural sources that are used to control pests and diseases in agriculture. Biofertilizers are microbial-based products that enhance soil fertility and plant nutrition. They contain beneficial bacteria, fungi, or other microorganisms that fix nitrogen, solubilize nutrients, and improve nutrient uptake by plants. Bio-stimulants are substances, often derived from natural sources, that stimulate plant growth and development. They enhance plant tolerance to abiotic stresses, such as drought and salinity, and improve nutrient uptake and utilization. Bio-stimulants offer a valuable tool for farmers seeking to increase crop yields while reducing environmental impact. Their ability to boost plant resilience and productivity propels their adoption and growth in the agricultural biological market as farmers strive for more efficient and sustainable agricultural practices.

Verdesian Life Sciences USA (formerly known as Cytozyme Laboratories Inc.) has been a pioneer in the research, development, introduction, and export of bio-stimulants from the USA since the year 1975. The first ever bio-stimulant launched In India was manufactured by Cytozyme and marketed in India by SPIC under the brand “SPIC CYTOZYME”. Since then Verdesian has been serving millions of Indian farmers through various collaborations with Indian Corporate companies like UPL, Corteva, Gharda, JU, and many more. Farmers across all states have benefitted from Verdesian’s bio-stimulants manufactured by proprietary “MAC Technology” and have harvested better yields and produce quality, protected their crops from abiotic stress resulting from unfavorable weather conditions, acute herbicide toxicity, and enhanced agrochemical performance when mixed along with Verdesian’s bio-stimulants. More than 150 seed companies are today using Verdesian’s bio-stimulant Seed treatment solutions to enhance the vigor and emergence of their seeds and increase yields. Verdesian Currently offers a personalized Crop package (INM program) to seed companies to increase the quality of seeds during the seed production program. Many prestigious agriculture institutions have conducted bio-efficacy tests of these bio-stimulants and found encouraging results.

Verdesian has also recently introduced “Fertilizer Enhancers” which can be used by coating on fertilizer granules to increase the Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) of bulk fertilizers such as Urea and DAP by reducing the loss and fixation of these fertilizers in Soil, Underground water, and Environment. The response from farmers has been very encouraging in terms of increased crop performance and yields despite the reduction of fertilizer dose by up to 30% in crops like Rice, Potato, wheat, etc. These fertilizer enhancers represent a “Need of the hour” segment in the current scenario where there are big environmental and economic impacts due to the overuse of bulk chemical fertilizers. These fertilizer enhancers are going to be a game changer technology for the Indian agriculture Industry going forward.

The future of biologicals in Indian agriculture is very promising considering the growing concern about the environmental and health impact of chemicals used in Agriculture. Governments and regulatory bodies across the globe are promoting sustainable farming practices through incentives and regulations. Since COVID-19, the end consumer has also realized the value of better immunity and the harmful impacts related to consuming chemical-loaded food. Agricultural biologicals offer a safer and more sustainable alternative. The agricultural biologicals market benefits significantly from continuous advancements in biotechnology and microbiology. These scientific innovations have led to the development of highly effective and targeted agricultural biological products. These advanced products provide farmers with more efficient means to control pests, diseases, and weeds while simultaneously enhancing crop yields.

Also Read: International Tractors Limited (ITL) launched 5 new tractor series under the brand Solis

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