As the global population continues to increase, on account of improving fertility rates in many countries, declining mortality rates and continuously improving healthcare infrastructure, which is increasing the life expectancy in many regions, increasing pressure on resources does not come as a surprise. Since many resources are limited, growing population means that number of individuals per unit of such resources is increasing, thus increasing the pressure on them.
Agriculture sector remains a good example of how increasing population puts burden on some resources. Continuously shrinking arable land in many parts of the world and increasing demand for food from continuously growing global population is continuously increasing the pressure on farmers to increase their productivity. The figure given below shows the decline in arable land available per capita across the globe:
Arable Land, Global, in Hectares per Person
Source: The World Bank Group
This increasing pressure on farmers, due to shrinking arable land per capita, channels down to per unit of arable land as farmers seek to increase their productivity with limited land available for food production. This is increasing the demand for solutions which can aid farmers in getting highest possible yields from the limited land they have. As a result, the demand for fertilizers, pesticides and other solutions is witnessing a continuous increase. Fertilizers have been one of the most common types of solutions which are used to improve productivity by farmers and for long, the most common and most talked about fertilizers have been nitrogen-based, phosphorous-based and potash-based. The popularity of fertilizers is evident from their growing use worldwide. The figure given below shows the consumption of fertilizers per hectare of arable land on a global level:
Global Fertilizer Consumption, in Kilograms per Hectare of Arable Land
Source: The World Bank Group
While fertilizers based on either or all three elements i.e. Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash, are very popular, sulphur and boron based fertilizers are relatively less popular among farmers and can be considered somewhat low-key. Despite being the most abundant element in the soil after oxygen and account for nearly 30% of the earth’s crust, silicon is not available to the plant in the form it exists in. Silica or alumino-silicates is the form silicon is usually found in but the limitation of plants to absorb silicon only when it is in the form of Monosilicic Acid makes this presence of sulphur in abundance of no use to plants. In conjunction to this, limitations of plants to use only some specific transporters of silicon which are only found in the roots and not found in leaves makes it even more difficult for plants to use silicon available naturally. This is increasing the demand for silicon fertilizers among the farmers. The popularity of silicon fertilizers is being spurred by increasing awareness among farmers regarding immense benefits these fertilizers offer. Silicon fertilizers are known to enhance mechanical strength of plants along with enhancing their ability to photosynthesize. When applied in the correct form and in optimum quantity, silicon fertilizers aid plants in coping with conditions like insufficient sunshine or shading. Not just this, silicon fertilizers offer plants the ability to resist drought stress, mineral toxicity stress and biotic stress (i.e. stress caused by diseases or agents like pests), while promoting nutritional efficiency among them. The growing demand for these fertilizers among farmers is majorly attributed to unfavourable climatic conditions for farming in many regions and increasing awareness among farmers regarding the solutions available in the market. In Europe, for instance, high pressure on farmers after a heavy drought which kicked in in the summers of 2018 has been pushing them towards more advanced solutions for farming which can aid them in increasing productivity amidst unfavourable environmental conditions.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the drought was triggered by heatwaves and disastrous precipitation which was result of record high temperatures in the region. As this situation still persists, and data from the European Drought Observatory (EDO) shows extreme dryness across some parts of Northern Europe stretching from Finland and Estonia to Belgium and the Netherlands. Since disastrous climatic changes are expected to keep triggering such events, farmers are moving towards solutions which can shield them from losses. As education to farmers, regarding best farming practices, is being given in many parts of the world, adoption of solutions like silicon fertilizers is increasing among them, thus boosting the market growth. However, the market growth is being restricted by lack of clarity among farmers in many regions regarding how much silicon fertilizers is required for different types of crops. Although researches are being carried out in some parts of the world, these are not enough to clearly determine how effective and safe are silicon fertilizers for productivity and crop health.
Geographically, the report, titled Silicon Fertilizer Market, by Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence, segments the market into North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific. Europe and North America together account for a significant share in this market and the market growth in these regions is majorly attributed to high degree awareness among farmers regarding latest farming practices. High penetration of smartphones and internet in these two regions has been connecting farmers to expert communities which has been helping them in getting enough know-how of best farming practices and technologies in the market. The Asia Pacific silicon fertilizer market is expected to show a good growth till 2025 and the market growth in this region will be driven by rising investments by market players in many countries across this region. The market growth in South America and Middle East and Africa is expected to remain decent over the next five years.
About the Author:
Dhiraj Kumar Sharma is a Market Research Analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence. He combines his outright understanding of technologies with years of experience working in the industry to deliver actionable information to clients who span across industries and geographies. Dhiraj often works closely with clients in order to better understand their requirements and is known for the quality of market insights he delivers to them.