The case for adding biostimulants to your biologicals portfolio

With increasing EU support and their ability to meet consumer demand for a gentler impact on the environment, biostimulants are increasing in popularity. The question is do you need them in your biologicals portfolio? Increasing numbers of agricultural companies are focusing on them as strategic development areas. So should you consider adding them to your portfolio? Let’s take a closer look.

11 Minutes By Anuj Dhariwal Agribusiness 12/05/2023

At a Glance

  • Biostimulants improve plant growth, development, and abiotic stress tolerance. Anuj Dhariwal, Client Service Partner at a-connect, provides insights on their increased importance as part of broader crop protection solutions. Consequently, more companies are looking to add them to their portfolios.
  • Complex formulations, short shelf life, and slow adoption rates are proving to be key challenges. But this is counterbalanced by their greener environmental footprint, favorable regulatory outlook, and evolving market ecosystem.

Biostimulants are the second largest segment in Ag biologicals

The market was estimated to be worth $3.2 Bn in 2022, and expected to grow at 11-12% CAGR for the next 5 years driven by:

  • Performance under abiotic stress conditions.
  • Enhance crop yield and quality.

Amino acids and humic acids are the major types of bio-stimulants and hold ~ 65% of global market share. Protein hydrolysates and Plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are gaining adoption owing to their mixability with other biological agents and biofertilizers.

Emerging categories such as Seaweed Extracts and PGPR have significant growth potential driven by differentiating mode of action and greener environmental footprint.

New biostimulant categories: seaweed extract and PGPR

The former supports ‘biofortification’ of plant tissue (enhanced nutritional value). Whereas the latter offers economic and environmental benefits for higher crop yield, savings on fertilizers, and reduced losses to the environment.

More complex to develop, PGPR is predominantly manufactured by large international agriculture players.  European regional companies tend to choose seaweed extract which has an easier formulation process.

The future looks bright for biostimulants

Alongside improved ROI, biostimulants address the growing demand for agriculture products with lower environmental impact. And it’s not gone unnoticed by the EU who are registering them in member states. They are also expected to introduce new standards for Biostimulant processes and methods. And with the European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) fostering collaboration amongst organizations, the sector is definitely gaining momentum.

Consider adding biostimulants to your portfolio

You’ll gain early access to a market where registering products can take a few years. Furthermore, the biostimulants market is highly fragmented with no clear leaders or winners yet, which leaves room for emerging players to capture market share. But be aware that maximizing leverage and the market’s full potential requires overcoming some challenges:

  • Formulating biostimulants is more complex than other crop protection solutions.
  • Compared to other microbial solutions they have shorter shelf lives.
  • Adoption among farmers is slower due to education and training requirements on application methods.

With increasing interest in their efficacy and ongoing support, biostimulants present an appealing opportunity. It is worth considering adding them to your portfolio.  If you’d like to find out more about the industry or any aspect of this article, please do contact our team.

About the author

Anuj Dhariwal, a-connect Client Service Partner, joined our Client Service team in 2022. He is focusing on helping Agribusiness and Food clients overcome a variety of complex business challenges. He brings experience from Bain & Company, Bayer AG, and Novozymes, and holds B.Tech, M.Tech from IIT, and a PhD in Industrial Biotechnology.

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