The global ammonium sulfate market size was valued at USD 2.96 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 5.04 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Ammonium sulfate is a water-soluble, solid, white, odorless, inorganic chemical compound. This substance contains 21% nitrogen in the form of ammonium ions and 24% sulfur in sulfate ions. It is created by mixing hot ammonia with sulfuric acid. It is mostly used to prepare other ammonium salts. Ammonium sulfate's excellent solubility makes it useful for various agricultural uses. This substance is largely employed as a spray adjuvant for water-soluble insecticides in agriculture.
Ammonium sulfate is mostly utilized as a fertilizer for alkaline soils. The release of the ammonium ion into the soil causes a small quantity of acid to form, which lowers the pH equilibrium of the soil and supplies the nitrogen plants need to flourish. The biggest drawback of using ammonium sulfate is that it contains less nitrogen than ammonium nitrate, which raises transportation expenses. It is additionally employed as an agricultural spray adjuvant for fungicides, herbicides, and water-soluble insecticides. In plant cells and well water, it binds calcium and iron cations. It functions as an adjuvant for the herbicides glufosinate, glyphosate, and 2,4-D (amine).
Farmers will need to produce food grains quickly and in large quantities more than ever starting in 2020 due to the worldwide population boom. Moreover, the size of arable land per person has shrunk due to the increasing population base. The rising population also generates demand for housing and commercial infrastructure development, further increasing the pressure on farmers to produce more crops on less available land. The limited availability of agricultural land is one of the major barriers to the production of crops.
In 2006, the global population stood at 6.60 billion, and per capita arable land stood at 0.20 hectares. The world's population reached 7.4 billion in 2016, and the amount of land available to each individual decreased to 0.19 hectares by 2020. Due to a predicted continued decline in global arable land availability, an increase in the use of fertilizers designed to boost output per hectare is widely anticipated. These aspects are anticipated to boost the demand for ammonium sulfate for nitrogenous fertilizer production over the coming years.
Growing demand for food grain due to the increasing population and the provisioning of subsidy schemes to purchase fertilizers by the governments of various nations have increased the consumption of fertilizers in the agriculture sector. The consumption of fertilizers has witnessed steady growth over the years. In addition, the average amount of fertilizer used per hectare of farmland increased from 115.84 kilograms in 2005 to 140.55 kilograms in 2016. However, their consumption slowed between 2007 and 2009 due to the global financial crisis. Since 2010, several nations' economies—including their agricultural sectors—have resumed their previous course. This has increased the demand for chemical fertilizers, which has fueled the market's growth for ammonium sulfate-based fertilizers.
Fertilizers and various other agricultural inputs are composed of chemicals and synthetic components that boost the growth of plants. However, they also harm the environment in the long run. Soil fertility can be reduced when too much fertilizer is used at once, as this can raise the soil's acidity and reduce its overall quality. One of the fertilizers' many unfavorable effects on ecosystems is eutrophication.
Additionally, groundwater reserves, which are used for drinking and can cause several diseases, can be harmed by the synthetic chemicals in fertilizers. Fertilizers comprise several chemicals, like carbon dioxide, nitrogen, methane, and ammonia, based on their composition. The emission of these compounds can increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, eventually resulting in global warming and climate change. These factors are estimated to restrict the utilization of various chemical-based fertilizers, including ammonium sulfate, over the coming years.
Key opportunities in the global ammonium sulfate ecosystem lie in increasing awareness among the farmers and the farming communities about the advantages and benefits of utilizing the substance as a fertilizer to enhance crop yields. Several product manufacturing companies working in the global market focus on developing ammonium sulfate products that cause considerably lower environmental hazards while delivering an optimum boost to crop development.
Furthermore, the market is anticipated to reflect substantial growth opportunities for ammonium sulfate in the food and feed additive segment, wherein it is majorly used as a dough enhancer, buffering agent, and stabilizer. With advancements in manufacturing processes triggering an expansion in the scope of application, the substance is commonly used in baker's yeast fermentation, bread products, manufacturing casings, and wine production. The wide application spectrum of the product is projected to generate ample growth opportunities in the market on a global scale.
The global ammonium sulfate market is segmented by product and application.
Based on the product, the global ammonium sulfate market is bifurcated into solid and liquid ammonium sulfate.
The solid ammonium sulfate segment dominates the global market and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 5.6% over the forecast period. Ammonium sulfate is commonly identified as an inorganic sulfate salt, a white, odorless solid. Ammonia is typically reacted with sulfuric acid, and obtaining crystals of ammonium sulfate in solid format is a general practice. Due to their capacity to increase soil nutrient content and sulfur deficit, solid ammonium sulfate crystals are widely employed as fertilizers in alkaline soils worldwide. Most of the ammonia sourced as a byproduct from caprolactam production or coal coke process to nylon manufacturing is typically obtained in crystal form. It is then processed for further use in the manufacture of fertilizer.
The commercially available liquid form of ammonium sulfate is a pale yellowish solution recognized as non-toxic, stable, and non-hazardous. Ammonium sulfate solution or liquid ammonium sulfate (LAS) is extensively used in water treatment applications worldwide, wherein it is utilized as a disinfectant in the chlorination process. The market for LAS is anticipated to grow significantly as alternatives to LAS, like aqueous or anhydrous ammonia, are identified as hazardous and require adherence to stringent protocols during transport and handling.
Based on application, the global ammonium sulfate market is segmented into fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, food and feed additives, water treatment, and others.
The fertilizers segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. The use of ammonium sulfate in fertilizer production is a major application globally. Ammonium sulfate is primarily employed as a fertilizer for alkaline soils as it contains nitrogen and sulfur. It was the largest nitrogen source for around 150 years until urea was discovered. In addition, monitoring the reaction conditions during production has a significant impact on controlling the ammonium sulfate crystal size variation from a production standpoint. This determines the application rate of ammonium sulfate and the quantity used in fertilizer manufacturing.
In soil, ammonium sulfate breaks into ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, and water. Plants use nitrogen and ammonia to make amino acids, while sulfur is required for metabolism. However, it is anticipated that ammonium sulfate's use will decline over the next few years due to its high cost. Ammonium sulfate contains 21% nitrogen and 24% sulfur, which are considered essential fertilizer nutrients. However, growing fertilizer consumption across agriculture-based economies is expected to drive the demand for ammonium sulfate over the forecast period.
Feed-grade ammonium sulfate is gaining traction across the globe due to its approval as a safe non-nitrogen source for cattle and various other ruminants. Ammonium sulfate is widely used to produce enzymes for feed and remove potassium from vinasse, which results in high-quality feed for cattle. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare associations of the world and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared that the use of ammonium sulfate as a feed additive has no implications for health deterioration among cattle; therefore, it is widely accepted and utilized across the globe. Ammonium sulfate is also widely used in baking soda and as an integral agent in various food processing applications.
Based on region, the global ammonium sulfate market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global ammonium sulfate market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific is considered one of the fastest emerging regions in the world in terms of economic progress, industrialization, and major end-use sector growth. With fast-growing countries like China and India, this region is expected to be the leader in various industry sectors, such as manufacturing, IT, telecom, and many more, apart from agriculture. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia-Pacific will account for 53% of the global agricultural and fish commodities output by 2030.
Additionally, rice is a primary food source throughout Asia. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, about two billion people in Asia farm the crop, which is also consumed by four billion people (FAO). Many of the economies in this region, including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, depend heavily on agriculture as their principal economic activity. Although the development of the agriculture sector is comparatively slow owing to the switching of the native population from this sector to the manufacturing sector or IT industries, constant innovations in the field are projected to create substantial market growth opportunities for various fertilizers to be utilized in agriculture, which will boost the demand for ammonium sulfate in the region.
Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.8% over the forecast period. Europe is one of the significant consumers of fertilizers on account of its rapidly evolving agriculture industry, aided by land availability and suitable weather conditions that lead to the vast production of multiple crops. However, multiple agencies are establishing regulations regarding synthetic fertilizers in the region. The European Commission has set various regulations on the manufacturing and use of chemically synthesized fertilizers to reduce potential pollution of soil and underground water reserves in the region. In addition, the economic depression from 2007 to 2009 severely affected the economies of most of the European countries. The agricultural sector in the region also witnessed a downfall during this period. Therefore, the demand for fertilizer and allied agrochemical products was also impacted. Since 2010, the overall fertilizers business has shown signs of recovery across Europe, reflecting the region's stable demand for ammonium sulfate.
North America is one of the largest agricultural hubs in the world and among the most homogeneous regions regarding farmers' profiles and business intensification levels. The availability of water and fertile land, efficient infrastructure, and entrepreneurial farmers act as a competitive advantage to the North American region. The fertilizers industry in North America is dominated by the U.S., wherein ammonium sulfate and urea are recorded to be the most favored substances for fertilizer production. In addition, the growing fertilizer industry and crop nutrient management planning have resulted in the growing demand for ammonium sulfate in the North American market. The region has reflected dynamic changes over the past few years regarding agricultural practices, farming techniques, agricultural input product movement, fertilizer product development, and more. Increasing penetration of agrochemical producers in the region, coupled with increasing demand for food products across the U.S. and Canada, is also projected to pave the way for ammonium sulfate-based fertilizers to cater to the growing consumer demand.
Central and South America is one of the world's leading exporters of food and agricultural commodities. The presence of significant unexploited agricultural landmarks in the region. The major crops grown in Central & South America are corn, soybeans, pineapples, sugarcane, coffee, etc. This region has one of the world's most complex and diverse farming systems, owing to its rich biodiversity, varied topography, and enormous latitudinal range. In addition, Argentina, Belize, Haiti, Bolivia, Dominica, Paraguay, and Ecuador are Central and South American nations whose economy mostly derives from agriculture. Citrus fruits, grapes, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and wheat are the major crops grown in Argentina, which demand high-quality ammonium sulfate-based fertilizers for healthy growth. This is expected to drive the overall regional market over the coming years.
The Middle East and African agricultural sector is underdeveloped as the region is mostly dry and has a high water scarcity. However, South Africa, Kenya, and countries across the Mediterranean Sea highly depend on agriculture. Wheat, barley, chicory roots, grapes, and maize are the major crops cultivated in the region, driving demand for ammonium sulfate.
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