Since the inception of the green revolution, synthetic inputs in agricultural farming have increased in volume in order to obtain a high yield crop. The intensive use of chemical fertilizers has undoubtedly enhanced the crop yield but also degraded the health of the soil, water quality, and food. At this point, biological fertilizers exhibit excellent potential to replace chemical fertilizers. Living micro-organisms are present in biological organic fertilizers which aids the growth of plants by colonizing their rizhosphere. Biological organic fertilizers add nutrients to the plants using natural processes such as nitrogen fixation and stimulate their development by producing natural growth promoting substances. The microorganisms present restore their nutrient cycle and also enhances the health of the soil. The scientific term for this micro-organism is the “plant growth promoting rizhobacteria (PGPR)”. Biological organic fertilizers are different from organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers consists of animal and plants wastes whereas biological fertilizers consists of living micro-organisms. Biological organic fertilizers fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and roots of the crops and solubilize the insoluble nutrients. When directly applied to the soil or seed, they increase the yield by 10%–25%. Most soils are deficient in phosphorus, which is an essential macronutrient apart from microorganisms such as rhizobium, azobacter, azospirillium, and blue green algae. The rizhobium microorganism is known for its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in plants forming nodules in its roots. Azobacter is a non-symbiotic microorganism beneficial for a wide array of crops covering millets, sugarcane, and vegetables. It also secretes useful fungicides and enzymes in small amounts. Azospirillium is a nitrogen fixation microorganism primarily beneficial for non-leguminous crops.
The global market for biological organic fertilizers can be segmented on the basis of type into nitrogen fixing, phosphate mobilizing, and organic matter decomposers. The market can also divided based on the crop it is being applied on, such as wheat, maize, millets, sugarcane, and paddy crops. Demand for high yield crops coupled with increasing environmental regulations regarding environment-friendly fertilizers drive this market. Biological organic fertilizers are expected to replace chemical fertilizers as unlike the latter, they do not cause soil degradation.
In terms of region, the biological fertilizer market is distributed over Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is likely to be the dominant region due to the increasing population, availability of arable land, and nutrient-deficient soil concentrated in China and India. North America and Europe are also anticipated to hold an attractive share in the market due to stringent environmental regulations regarding usage of chemical fertilizers.
Key players in the market include Maharashtra Bio Fertilizers India Pvt. Ltd., SKS Bio Products Pvt. Ltd., Sushila Bio Fertilizer Company Limited, Krishak Bharti Cooperative Limited, Bio Green USA Inc., National Fertilizer Limited, Soil Technologies Corporation, Nico Orgo Inc., and Biodiesen Biotech, Inc. Soil Technologies Corporation is a major player offering a wide portfolio of bio fertilizers. The company sells its technology to over 25 countries and the composition of its products includes natural plant extracts live microbial agents, unprocessed mineral plant nutrient, raw plant oil, and all natural carrier minerals. It plans to increase its trade in Europe, Middle East & Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America.
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