Plant growth regulators have been gaining a marked popularity, in agriculture-driven economies, as bio-stimulants or bio-inhibitors that modify the physiological processes of plants. As agriculture becomes more mechanized and scientific development ensures the possibilities of using novel inputs to improve production, demand for plant growth regulators continue to increase, with sales of approximately US$ 5,600 million in 2018. However, the fact that uncontrolled use of plant growth regulators leads to exceptionally fast crop development, which results into ripening of the fruit surface while its core remains raw, remains a key concern among producers of plant growth regulators and end-users alike.
The use of plant growth regulators among landscape contractors and lawn care operators has been on the rise, as they become aware about the potential benefits including slow grass growth, improved health & stress tolerance of turf, and better root development, which help reduce the amount of clippings and frequency of mowing. Emerging trends of in-house gardening and farming favoring growth of the plant growth regulators market growth, as more farmers shift towards the use of agrochemicals to enhance crop protection and provide nutrition-rich produce. Demand for natural plant growth regulators also continues to grow, with rapid adoption of organic farming that is influenced by the rising demand for organic and natural products worldwide.
Sensing the unmet needs of the consumers, key plant growth regulators manufacturers are making efforts to identify the white space which is essential to stimulate their business growth; several initiatives and investments in R&D activities are key strategies of plant growth regulators manufacturers for gaining a competitive edge. Increasing government investments and remarkable growth in adoption of integrated crop management practices will further impact the prospects of the plant growth regulators market.
The preference for organic farming is significant in Europe, representing nearly 7% of the total EU agricultural land in 2017, which has significantly influenced the demand for plant growth regulators. The onus on green and sustainable farming practices, along with the focus of consumers on decorative farming and roof gardening, has been paving lucrative avenues for manufacturers of plant growth regulators in Europe.
From the regulatory control perspective, plant growth regulators are identified as ‘pesticide’, and therefore Codex Alimentarius Commission and European Union (EU) have set the ‘Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs)’ for plant growth regulators. Such regulatory constraints along with minimal product innovations may hinder adoption of plant growth regulators in Europe.
As increasing agricultural production coupled with ever-rising demand for food continue to support the expansion of plant growth regulators market, while gains are complemented by investments, and introduction of favorable agriculture policies for farmers. The impact of these aspects on plant growth regulators sales have been particularly prevalent in the developing nations of Asia Pacific – estimated to emerge as a high-growth market for plant growth regulators. Degradation of soil quality owing to overgrazing, deforestation, urbanization, and industrialization, has led farmers in the region to opt for plant growth regulators, which promote effective cultivation of fruits & vegetables, cereals & grains, and oilseeds & pulses.
The competitive landscape of the plant growth regulators market has witnessed a perfect balance between the command of leading and emerging players, each group collectively accounting for 35-45% shares. However, local producers of plant growth regulators have been finding it difficult to eat into the shares of their leading competitors – accounting for a marginal market share. In order to maintain their position in the market, leading plant growth regulators manufacturers continue to exploit strategies such as innovative product developments, R&D investments, and joint ventures with government organizations.
In 2017, BASF invested nearly US$ 58 million to build a new innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Mumbai, India. In addition, Tata Chemicals follows their organic format to sell plant growth regulators under the name FarmGro and FarmGro G.