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Biostimulants 2020

18 September 2020

New report sees strong future growth potential for Biostimulants

IHS Markit Crop Science's Biostimulants 2020 is a complete update of an Agrow report last published in 2018. It provides a quantitative and qualitative overview of the biostimulants market, which comprises a diverse group of substances and microorganisms that can modify a plant's physiology to improve its efficiency and resilience.

Farmers apply biostimulant products to crop seeds, to soil, or as a foliar spray, to improve yield and or quality. Confusingly, biostimulants also sometimes go by other names, such as elicitors, plant strengtheners and conditioners, phytostimulants, phytoprotectants, biofertilisers, bioactivators, or soil, yield, crop and plant growth enhancers.

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Market size

The agricultural biostimulant market is split into: row crops (including cereals); fruit and vegetables; turf and ornamentals; and others. Usage is split nearly evenly between the first two categories, which together represent some 80% of the total market. While row crops and cereals use a lower volume of biostimulants on a per hectare basis than fruit and vegetables, these crops cover a much larger total area.

The general consensus is that the global market for biostimulants was estimated to be worth around $2.2 billion in 2019 and that it is growing with a CAGR of over 10%. This compares with a figure of $2 billion for 2017 and $1.5 billion for 2015. We see this rising to between $6.3 and $7 billion by 2026/27, based on current highly positive growth rates.


The rapid growth in the market for biostimulants has outpaced the development of legislation to regulate this sector. On an international level, there is also a lack of standards covering the products. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has started work to create an ISO standard on biostimulant terminology. The report covers the current situation in the European Union, the United States, and India.

The EU finalised in 2019 legislation that covers biostimulants. The European Commission published its proposals for a new EU regulation in 2016. These were considered by the European Parliament, which adopted its negotiating mandate in October 2017. The European Commission, Parliament and Council negotiated to reach an agreement on the proposals, and the legislation was finally agreed in March 2019. The regulation entered into force on 15 July 2019.

The full application of the regulation (i.e. when the first EC-marked fertilising products, including biostimulants, can be placed on the Union market) will be on 16 July 2022. To ensure implementation of the new Fertilizing Products regulation, harmonized standards are currently being developed by the CEN and expected to be released by 2022.

Report structure

Chapter 1: Introduction to the segment: what they are; how they work; their benefits; types of product

Chapter 2: Biostimulant market: size of the segment and key drivers

Chapter 3: Regions: the key global regions where biostimulants are used

Chapter 4: Crops: the major targets; row and cereals, fruit and veg, turf, ornamentals, organic vs conventional

Chapter 5: Application and formulation: main methods of applications, including seed treatments; main formulation methods

Chapter 6: R&D investment; strategies supporting development of biostimulants, significant start-ups, investor companies

Chapter 7: Legislation: overview of frameworks in EU, US, India, China, Brazil, S. Africa, Mexico

Chapter 8: Companies - background information on types of company active in the segment and the industry associations

Chapter 9: Companies - profiles of the major companies

About the Author

Marina Altman is a business intelligence specialist and writer. She graduated from ETH Zurich with a Master's Degree in Management, Technology and Economics and wrote her Master Thesis on the "Future potential of grain production in Russia". She worked for several years at Syngenta in the Business Intelligence Department and has been working since then as freelance author of agricultural reports and competitive analysis.

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