Azadirachtin is an effective insecticide extracted from the seed kernel of the Neem tree found predominantly in India. Azadirachtin is an ecdysone blocker that is structurally akin to a hormone found in insects called ecdysone. Azadirachtin prevents the release of these hormones by blocking the production of insects. It is known to affect almost 200 species of insects and is an active growth disruptor to beetles, lace bugs, leafminers, aphids, caterpillar, leafhoppers, and whiteflies. It is also biodegradable and exhibits low toxicity toward mammals. It is used for a wide range of crops, including vegetables, tomatoes, protected crops and forestry, ornamentals, cotton, tea, coffee, etc. Azadirachtin has specific applications in formulations of agricultural specialties, veterinary pests, and textiles. Azadirachtin being a neem product, is compatible with Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
It can be extracted by two processes, namely solvent extraction and pressing of seeds. Neem seeds have 40 percent of the oil — the highest concentration of Azadirachtin.
In light of the growing world population, the demand for food is on the rise. It is the agro industry’s onus to increase the yield, which has eventually driven the agrochemical market growth. An array of products such as pesticides, fertilizers, soil conditioners, and plant protection chemicals have turned the tables against different types of pests and increased the yield. The demand for biodegradability and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has urged agriculturists to shift toward products that constitute Azadirachtin. The extensive use of Azadirachtin in the production of insect growth regulators, oviposition inhibitor, antifeedant, and repellent, is spurring the global Azadirachtin market growth.
The rising consumer demand for sustainable farming involves the use of bio-pesticides that cause minimal harm to the soil and prevents soil degradation. Researchers are trying to devise approaches to innovate products that can have minimal impact on non-target organisms, creating complex modes of action, thus providing minimum resistance and pest control resulting in higher crop quality and yield. Certis U.S.A., in October 2018, finished the construction of its new production facility of Azadirachtin formulation and packaging facility in California. The research and development in neem-based pesticides have resulted in a product that has low re-entry interval (REI) and pre-harvest interval (PHI). This is a reliable indicator for companies trying to innovate newer biopesticides, resulting in an increasing demand for Azadirachtin.
Integrated Pest Management system (IPM) is an ecological approach to manage pests, which primarily focuses on crop ecosystems and ultimately minimizes risks concerning human health and the environment. It blends various biological, physical, and chemical, along with cultural strategies, to manage pesticides sustainably. IPM has made sure many farmers are in a better position to opt for multiple pesticides, especially biopesticides, by providing an insightful platform. The use of biopesticides under the umbrella of IPM can prove beneficial for resource-limited farmers in countries across India.
Biopesticides are produced using natural ingredients, providing natural protection and also result in residue-free food. The global trend of healthy eating and organic food is on the rise. In an attempt to protect and enhance the crops grown in a natural setting, the use of biopesticides will be a crucial factor. As the organic crop area will expand, the use of biopesticides is projected to increase. The following chart indicates the percent increase in the organic crop area in the EU member states from 2017 to 2018.
Azadirachtin is used to produce an emulsifiable concentrate — a formulation of Azadirachtin, organic water-miscible solvents, and an emulsifier. This emulsifiable concentrate is then diluted with water to obtain the desired pesticide solution. Moreover, Azadirachtin is a natural antifeedant and is primarily used as a sterilant to inhibit the growth of insects in plants and trees. Azadirachtin being a plant-derived product fulfills the stringent standards laid for agriculture field applications, where only a few commercial products are compatible. This advantage of Azadirachtin gives it an upper hand over the other products in the market, thus making it a strongly preferred product among the organic farming community. This ability of the product has engendered a considerable market demand for Azadirachtin and have gravitated the key players in the pesticide and agro-chemical industry to use Azadirachtin in their products.
Improving expenditure power and growing awareness among the farmers regarding the benefits of using organic products to yield better crops is likely to accelerate the growth of the Azadirachtin market during the forecast period. Furthermore, Azadirachtin is also utilized in understanding the biological or behavioral processes in insect physiology and neuro-endocrinology. This is expected to increase the consumption rate of these products in the research and development institutes and healthcare sectors. On account of its low mammalian toxicity, Azadirachtin is used in the treatment of head lice, which has created a lucrative growth opportunity and opened an encouraging route for the manufacturers in the hair care industry to use Azadirachtin in their products to derive better and effective results.
Asia-pacific is foreseen to be the largest and the fastest-growing market for Azadirachtin during the forecast period. India, Pakistan, and Myanmar are the countries primarily contributing to market growth. Azadirachtin is a derivative of neem and is a valuable forestry species among the regional farmers as it has high relevance in the organic farming practice. Azadirachtin, as a neem derivative, was used by the farmers long before the commercial insecticides and fertilizers were available, to protect their crops from pesticides, thus helping the farmers to yield a better crop. This advantage of Azadirachtin has gained traction of prominent players in the neem market to expand their product portfolios and deliver antifeedant pesticides made from Azadirachtin.
Africa has a prominent share in the global Azadirachtin market, driven by the agriculture sector. The sector primarily contributes to the regional economy, owing to which it becomes an essential concern for the government to keep the yield from the farmers high to maintain the economic stability in the region. Neem tree cultivation has not gained enough traction in Middle East countries. However, recent developments in the field of plant hybridization have prompted the cultivation of neem trees in North America and Europe. This transformation in the field is likely to aid the Biopesticide manufacturers in North America and Europe as they will be able to cultivate raw material for Azadirachtin in the region. Moreover, these regions are significant importers from Asia-Pacific and African countries to maintain the demand of the neem and its derivations in the region. Also, these regions are collaborating with the Indian players to deliver better and sustainable products in their regional markets. Such trade and expansion initiatives are likely to boost the growth of the Azadirachtin market during the coming years.
Some of the prominent players operating in the global Azadirachtin market include Bicosys (Advanced Biocontrol System) Co., Ltd, Certis USA L.L.C., Parrys Bio (Murugappa Group), OHP, Inc., Bharat Biocon Pvt Ltd, Ozone Biotech, Merck KGaA, Fortune Biotech Ltd, among others.