The global humic acid market size was estimated to be valued at USD 550 million in 2021. It is forecast to reach USD 1465 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
Humic acids are brown-black polymeric acids derived from plants found all over the earth's crust. Humic acids are used for the brown-black, polymeric, alkali-soluble acids found in soils, plants, seagrasses, fungi, sediments, and terrestrial and marine waters. Humic acids are a group of molecules that bind to and help plant roots receive water and nutrients, thus contributing to soil fertility. High humic acid concentration can significantly increase production. Humic acid deficiency can abstain farmers and gardeners from growing crops with optimum nutrition.
Additionally, Humic acids are crucial as a medium for transferring nutrients from the soil to the plant because they can store ionized nutrients and prevent them from draining away. Humic acids are likewise drawn to the plant root's depletion zone. They transport water and minerals to the plant's roots when they reach them. Although humic acids bind strongly to soils, are resistant to microbial metabolism, and have a very long half-life in the dirt, they are still depleted from soils by wind and water erosion and water leaching. Hence, it is essential to replenish them to maintain or improve soil fertility.
The use of humic acids is spreading throughout the agricultural sectors due to a trend toward sustainable farming. Accordingly, market participants use cutting-edge chemicals with various qualities to produce humic acid, depending on its intended use.
The global humic acid market is segmented by form, application, and region.
The growing global population would continue to use increasing agricultural products for food, feed, and industrial purposes. Much of the additional food demand over the coming decade would originate in regions with high population growth, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Furthermore, worldwide, cereals for food are projected to grow by about 150 million metric tons over the outlook period, amounting to a 13% increase, with rice and wheat holding for the bulk of the growth.
The most remarkable parameter behind the projected growth in food use of staple products is the population growth, which is expected to grow fastest in the Sub-Saharan African and South Asian regions. Furthermore, world food production needs to double by 2050 to cater to the population growth and evolving food habits. In addition, it faces the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, soil and water quality, and the demands of the global marketplace. As a result, the agriculture sector devours a massive mandate for the humic acid market in the coming years.
Humic acid market growth is projected to be significantly impacted by growing public awareness of the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and other synthetic agrochemicals, particularly in Europe and North American developed countries. When synthetic chemicals are used excessively to increase agricultural output, they leak into the groundwater and are not fully absorbed by the plants. In addition, laws like the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union suggested spending 30% of direct payments to encourage the use of bio-based resources in agriculture. In the upcoming years, the demand for humic acid could significantly increase in these areas.
In a substantially populated country like India and many other Sub-Saharan African countries where agriculture is one of the major industries, farmers lack awareness or knowledge of natural growth boosters. Instead, the farmers choose artificial fertilizers in a ravenousness to get more crops in less time, and as a result, pollute the environment.
Compost or humic compounds are two of the most frequent strategies for steadily increasing soil organic matter and boosting soil biology. However, less widespread credibility has limited their use to small proportions of farmers. On the other hand, compost is cost-effective since it may be made on or near the farm from local materials and composted using local microbes. Although homemade compost is high in organic material, it is time-consuming and requires a significant volume (up to 5 metric tons/acre).
Compost may bring new microorganisms/pests/pathogens / undigested seeds to the soil. Additionally, if manures were incorporated, there may be undigested weed seeds and harmful bacteria. Consequently, it compels farmers to use pesticides, thus negatively impacting the environment. Therefore, from the factors mentioned above, it can be concluded that even though the compost is easier to make for the farmers, it incidentally leads to polluting the environment, and the lack of awareness of humus among farmers is likely to act as a restraint.
Increasing the need for bio-stimulants and organic fertilizers will also act as an opportunity for the humic acid market globally. Bio-stimulants are products that can reduce the need for fertilizers by increasing plant growth, abiotic stresses, and water resistance. Humic acid is used for the production of natural biostimulants. The prevalence of biostimulants in farming is linked to the possibility of increasing yields without having to stop producing ecological crops. Numerous scientific research has found that biostimulants have a significant favorable influence on yielding plants. Thus, as the demand for sustainable agricultural practices grows, the market for humic acid-based biostimulants is also expected to increase in the next decade.
The growth of the organic food industry is expected to fuel the demand for organic fertilizers and bio-stimulants. The organic sector is growing at a healthy rate, especially in Europe and North America, which will positively affect the market studied. Biostimulants are widely used on cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, the demand in the North American region is driven by the need for rising organics chains in the country. Furthermore, there is increasing awareness among farmers even in the Asia-Pacific region, which will act as an opportunity for the humic acid market. These are also policy support by various governments, which will positively impact the market.
The global humic acid market share is divided by form, application, and region.
By form, the market is divided into powdered, granular, and liquid. The powder segment accounted for the largest share and was valued USD 350 million in 2021. It is forecast to reach USD 1040 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period. The powder form of humic acid is widely used in agriculture, horticulture, and pharmaceutical applications. Humic acid in powder form is one the most used forms compared to the other forms of humic acid. Currently, the powder form of humic acid has a market share of just under 70%. The growing applications of powdered form from agriculture, horticulture, and pharmaceutical applications are estimated to drive the market.
When present in granular form, humic acid improves water and oxygen uptake by soil organisms, promoting seed germination. It stabilizes the agricultural cycle while safeguarding the soil from dangerous contaminants.
By application, the global humic acid market is divided into agriculture, animal feed, pharmaceuticals (including dietary supplements), horticulture (gardening), and other applications. The agriculture segment accounted for the largest share and was valued USD 365 million in 2021. It is forecast to reach USD 934 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period. The horticulture segment is expected to witness the fastest CAGR of 12% over the forecast period.
Humic acid is commonly utilized to promote nutrient uptake, water holding capacity, microbial growth, and soil characteristics in agriculture. It also aids in the removal of pollutants. Humic acid has numerous physical, chemical, and biological benefits. Humic acid boosts cation-exchange capacity (CEC) and oxygen content. The increased average water retention capacity improves soil fertility and plant growth. Humic acid enhances organic and mineral absorption while also retaining water-soluble inorganic fertilizers. Humic acid increases plant enzymes, organic catalysts, microorganism multiplication, root respiration, and root development. Humic acid also strengthens the plants' inherent resilience to disease and pests and increases nutrient uptake by 40%. It also encourages the production of chlorophyll, carbohydrates, and amino acids in plants, which aids in photosynthesis. All such growth depicting factors in agriculture is, in turn, driving the market for humic acid and is expected to have a sustainable market in the coming years.
The global humic acid market is divided into Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America, South America, and the Middle East and Africa. Europe accounted for the largest share and was valued at USD 224 million in 2021, and it is forecast to reach USD 582 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period.
The German economy is the greatest in Europe, and about half of the land is used for agriculture. It is the third-largest exporter of agricultural goods in the world. Grain is majorly cultivated in about one-third of the farming land of Germany and is the leading crop, followed by barley and rye. Furthermore, animal feeds play a vital role in the food production chain. In Germany, companies such as Deutsche Tiernahrung Cremer GmbH & Co. KG, Worlée, and Kiwa, among others, are some of the manufacturers of animal feeds. As the manufacturers of animal feeds are increasing in the country, the demand for humic acid is predicted to rise over the analysis period.
The country has the most prominent pharmaceutical sector in Europe. It has an important position in the pharmaceutical business due to the active participation of many global pharmaceutical corporations. Due to a large number of pharmaceutical companies and the ongoing research to generate new pharmaceuticals, there has been a spike in demand in the sector.
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period and was valued at USD 95 million in 2021. It is forecast to reach USD 272 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period. China has the most remarkable agricultural output among all other countries worldwide in the Asia-Pacific region. About 10% of the land in the country is suitable for cultivation. In the past, insufficient agricultural acreage caused severe food shortages. China plans to modernize and improve agriculture during the next ten years. China's agriculture development is expected to shift from increasing production to enhancing quality.
Furthermore, the pharmaceutical industry in China is one of the largest in the world. The country is involved in producing generics, therapeutic medicines, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and traditional Chinese medicine. More than 90% of the drugs registered in the country are generic. The pharmaceutical industry in China is expected to reach CNY 3 trillion in the coming years.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the animal feed market was valued more than CYN 291.83 billion (USD 45 billion) in 2019. Such a considerable market size underscores the significant market size of the country's animal feed additives market, which can be further linked to a huge potential demand for humic acid in the country. Due to the factors mentioned above, the need for humic acid is projected to grow in the country during the forecast period.
The United States, which has the most significant need for organic electrolytes and pollution detoxifiers, is the largest user in North America. Over the predicted horizon, increased consumption of biological stimulants in agriculture will support growth in North America.
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