2014-10-29   facebook twitter rss

Arable Land is Shrinking in Western Europe

Pressured by the huge demand for food in the region, agriculturalists are increasingly turning to plant health improvement agents to improve the yield and quality of their crops.

The total arable land area in Western Europe is decreasing at a rate of 0.6 percent every year due to higher urbanization. Pressured by the huge demand for food in the region, agriculturalists are increasingly turning to plant health improvement agents to improve the yield and quality of their crops.

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New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Western European Plant Health Improvement Agents Market, finds that the market earned revenues of more than $7.55 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach $8.72 billion in 2020. The study covers nitrogen-based, phosphate-based, potash-based and blended fertilizers.

“Escalating food prices, greater consumption of animal proteins, and the corresponding growth in demand for better hay for cattle feed, are also prompting agriculturalists to resort to plant health improvement agents,” said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials & Food Industry Analyst Dr. Nandhini Rajagopal. “However these advantages are being offset by the rocketing costs and shortage of raw materials.”

Since phosphate rock is a source of uranium for nuclear power plants, its availability for fertilizer production is limited. The consumption of phosphate and potash fertilizers is also dipping due to high extraction and transport costs as well as environmental impact.

The exorbitant prices of fertilizers in Western Europe have led to excessive imports, which in turn, exerts pricing pressure on domestic manufacturers. Forging strategic partnerships with mine owners and natural gas producers offers a way to blunt the impact of price volatility and raw material shortage.

The considerable emphasis on compliance with regulations for the use of plant health improvement agents also impedes the functioning of fertilizer plants. Fertilizers used in agriculture are one of the main emitters of ammonia and greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. The method and rate of application of plant health improvement agents are strictly monitored and controlled by the EU legislation, while the European Parliament defines the identification, composition and marketing of fertilizers.

“To ensure that they can achieve compliance and simultaneously gain market share, manufacturers need to invest in new technologies that can augment the total yield”, noted Dr. Rajagopal. “Better operational efficiency to make the optimal use of raw materials will be a huge help to plant health improvement agent manufacturers’ efforts to expand their profit margins.”

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