|Base Year Market Size
|USD 31.46 Billion
|Forecast Year Market Size
|USD 47.15 Billion
|Fastest Growing Market
The global specialty fertilizers market size was valued at USD 31.46 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 47.15 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 4.61% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The adoption of precision agriculture technology worldwide is attracting more consideration as a solution in food production to feed a surging population. This growing adoption of precision farming is expected to drive the global specialty fertilizers market. Moreover, specialty fertilizers are more efficient than traditional ones, and the surging need for efficient fertilizers is estimated to boost the market expansion.
Specialty fertilizers are those utilized in soil and plant conditions that are unique. Specialty fertilizers release essential nutrients and regulate moisture contact. These fertilizers expedite nutrient uptake, reduce the potential for nutrient loss, and mitigate the toxicity of a high ionic concentration. Specialty fertilizers will increase the grower's return, satisfy the demand for high-quality crops, and allow for greater profit margins than those typically obtained with high-volume fertilizers.
Potassium sulfate, diammonium phosphate, potassium nitrate, phosphoric acid, mono-ammonium phosphate, UAN, monopotassium phosphate, calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, urea, potassium chloride, and ammonium sulfate are components of numerous specialty fertilizers. They are applied to cereals, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, and grasses.
Over the past few decades, precision farming has successfully changed from an academic research point to an intensely gainful practice in agriculture. Besides, precision farming mainly focuses on monitoring the soil condition by examining the moisture, nitrates, and electrical conductivity week. A vital element of precision farming is the right dosage of nutrients to crops at the right time. Controlled-release fertilizers (CRF) are essential inputs in precision farming, fulfilling the demand.
Applying controlled fertilizers using precision farming technologies can also help prevent issues like fertilizer drain-off, excessive fertilizer leaching, and BOD (subsequent increase in biological oxygen demand) of water bodies. Thus, the rapid use of precision farming techniques worldwide increases the usage of specialty fertilizers. The growing adoption of precision farming practices and the arrival of technologies in farming are also expected to support the market's growth during the coming year.
Specialty fertilizers are an efficient and easy way to regularly supply garden plants and households with nutrients. The application of specialized fertilizers to the soil effectively supplies crops with essential nutrients while mitigating the risk of soil toxicity resulting from excessive fertilization. Meanwhile, specialty fertilizer products have become increasingly commonplace, and the coating has emerged as a preferred mode to include beneficial additives and nutrients, prevent dust, and decrease caking, among others. Specialty fertilizers also became recognized as a productive way to enhance nutrient use efficiency (NUE) to increase crop productivity and reduce environmental problems. This key factor will propel the market forward in the next years.
Knowledge about specialty fertilizers among farmers in developing countries remains limited. Farmers are not concerned about specialty fertilizers' usage methods and cost-effective advantages. Regardless, the major factor that has led to the low adoption rate of this specialty fertilizer technology is the established traditional fertilizers market, as the need for conventional fertilizers among agriculturalists remains high due to their faith in high crop returns.
Farmers rely on conventional fertilizers for the cultivation of crops such as oilseeds and pulses, cereals and grains, as well as fruits and vegetables. However, the prevalent use of traditional fertilizers hinders farmers' adoption of alternative technologies. This would restrict the global specialty fertilizers market growth in the coming year.
There has been growing encouragement from various government agencies and key players to boost the usage of specialty fertilizers to improve plant and soil health. For instance, in 2020, the European Parliament, the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies (IPOL), and the Common Agricultural Policy took certain steps to diminish the risk of chemical pesticides and using fertilizers and antibiotics. Significant direct impacts on agriculture towards a zero-pollution and toxic-free environment were seen impacting the usage of fertilizers and antibiotics.
Furthermore, in 2020, SQM SA launched Ultrasoline, an essential element for plants, iodine, optimal photosynthesis, better root growth, and better oxidative stress tolerance, among other advantages. Therefore, rising initiatives by governments and key players concerning adopting sustainable farming techniques to improve productivity and decrease environmental impact are projected to create opportunities for the specialty fertilizers market during the forecast period.
Based on region, the global specialty fertilizers market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global specialty fertilizers market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific is expected to hold the largest market share for specialty fertilizers during the forecast period, as it has the largest agricultural sector. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization, 30% of the world's agricultural land is in Asia-Pacific. This is due to the extensive farming practices in India, China, Thailand, and other countries. China, for example, is one of the largest producers and consumers of agricultural inputs. According to data provided by FAOSTAT in 2020, the country's arable land comprised approximately 8% of the world's total arable land or 119.474 million hectares.
In addition, specialty fertilizer manufacturers expand their footprint by introducing new products and increasing their production capacities due to the presence of the region's largest agriculture-based economies. For instance, in December 2019, Mosaic China inaugurated a new Yantai Port facility with various features and capabilities, such as a sophisticated Soil Lab. The 25,000-square-foot facility is also outfitted with a modernized logistics tracking system to promote safer and more efficient operations.
North America is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.31% over the forecast period. Increasing adoption of precision farming practices, food security concerns, environmental sustainability, and overpopulation are key factors driving the North American regional market growth. Similarly, the rising acceptance of the organic food system to minimize the prevalence of obesity and cardiovascular diseases in the United States has increased the market's growth. The United States is the largest fertilizer importer globally, contributing more than 85% of phosphatic fertilizers from international sources. The agricultural use of fertilizers in the country is 11.67 million tons for nitrogen, followed by 39.73 million tons for phosphate and 43.04 million tons for potash nutrients, utilized in only 17.24% of total arable land.
The North American market is driven by several major drivers, including the rising use of precision agricultural practices, concerns regarding food security, the imperative for environmental sustainability, and the challenges posed by overpopulation in the country. Moreover, the rising acceptance of the organic food system to minimize the prevalence of obesity and cardiovascular diseases in the United States has further added to the market's growth.
Europe has witnessed increased demand for sustainable and efficient agricultural practices, fueling the demand for fertilizers such as controlled-release, water-soluble, micronutrient, and customized due to their increased efficiency. For instance, in 2021, the French government passed the Climate and Resilience Law to reduce farmers' reliance on nitrogen fertilizers. Given that the use of this fertilizer has been linked to greenhouse gas emissions, the law aims to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 15% by 2030. Similarly, in 2020, ICL announced the launch of SierraformGT CalMag into the UK and Ireland markets. SierraformGT CalMag is a homogenous slow-release fertilizer supplying magnesium, calcium, and trace elements for turf growth and all-around plant health. The product is ideal for fine turf or stadia pitch application through the late spring, summer, and early autumn. Therefore, with new product innovations, the specialty fertilizer market experienced stable growth during the forecast period.
Brazil dominated the South American market. Brazil accounts for 8% of global fertilizer consumption and is the globe's fourth-largest fertilizer importer, behind China (24%), India (14.6%), and the U.S. (10.3%), with Russia accounting for approximately 20% of Brazilian imports. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine caused a global supply-chain bottleneck in 2022, the Brazilian government enacted a plan to reduce the country's reliance on imports. The program, which aims to minimize Brazilian fertilizer imports from the current level of 85% to 45% by 2050, includes a new tax policy for the sector and support for private firms expanding fertilizer production capacity. Likewise, in 2021, Brazil imported over 41 million metric tons of fertilizers, an increase of 21% from the previous year. In recent years, fertilizer consumption has been driven primarily by the expansion of farmland. Therefore, the Brazilian market for specialty fertilizers is expected to register stable growth in the coming years.
|By Crop Type
|Nutrien Limited EurochemGroup AG The Mosaic Company Israel Chemicals Ltd Yara International ASA Haifa Chemicals Ltd Sociedad Quimicay Minera de Chile CF Industrial Holdings Inc Coromandel International Ltd EverrisNA Inc Compo Expert GmbH
|U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
|China Korea Japan India Australia Singapore Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
|Middle East and Africa
|UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
|Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
|Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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The global specialty fertilizers market is segmented by type, application, and crop type.
Based on type, the global market is segmented into controlled-release fertilizers (CRF), slow-release fertilizers (SRF), micronutrient fertilizers, customized fertilizers, water-soluble fertilizers, and other fertilizers.
The water-soluble fertilizers segment dominates the global market and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 4.31% throughout the forecast period. Water-soluble fertilizers are soluble in the water and are readily available for absorption by plants. Nutrition management is easy through Water soluble fertilizers (WSF) as leaching and erosion do not affect nutrient levels. They are easy to apply with minimum efforts through fertigation and are an essential aspect of new-age agricultural systems such as hydroponics and drip irrigation methods. Nitrogenous specialty fertilizers are well-suited for application in water-soluble forms, as they have high solubility and dissolve in the non-ionic form.
Micronutrients are one of the major yield-determining factors in crop cultivation. However, it is commonly recognized that there are shortages in micronutrients in grains, oilseeds, pulses, and vegetable crops that are cultivated extensively. Thus, farmers are adopting micronutrient fertilizers in their crops to obtain quality products and better yields. In the past ten years, zinc, and to a lesser extent, boron and molybdenum, have been the deficient soil micronutrients. Zinc deficiency is prevalent in the soils of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the northwestern region of South America. All these boost the demand for micronutrient fertilizers globally.
Based on the application, the global market is segmented into fertigation, foliar, soil, and other applications.
The foliar segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.7% during the forecast period. Foliar application is a quick resort to correct nutrient deficiencies in certain specific instances like extreme dry weather conditions, where the plants cannot take up nutrients directly from the soil due to lack of soil moisture. It is also used when the crop requires a quick fertilizer response, and in crop types, the foliage takes up an extensive area and makes soil application of fertilizers cumbersome. Chelated specialty fertilizers for a foliar mode of applications are often considered more effective, as they provide fast, on-the-spot nutrition to ensure high, top-quality yield.
Soil application of specialty fertilizers is the most inexpensive method of application. Therefore, it is adopted by farmers globally. It is done by broadcasting, placement, and localized placement methods. Water-soluble fertilizers and micronutrient fertilizers, which include salts of zinc, boron, and copper, applied through the soil are the most widely used methods of application by farmers. Moreover, applying chelates to the soil does not require any skilled labor, which is one of the major reasons for the segment's growth, especially in developing countries.
Based on crop type, the global market is segmented into grains and cereals, oilseeds and pulses, fruits and vegetables, commercial crops, and other crop types.
The grains and cereal segment is the largest revenue contributor to the market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 4.12% over the forecast period. Due to high global population gain, the increasing demand for plant nutrients leads to a dependency on fertilizers for food grain production. The nutrient load per unit area is rising steadily due to limited arable land used for food production, thereby decreasing nutrient efficiency in the soil profile, projecting a higher demand for specialty fertilizers in the coming years. For instance, the apparent nitrogen recovery in cereal crops is 45% worldwide, indicating the global agricultural output of nitrogen is 23 Tg annually, a lower efficiency of nitrogen utilization in food production.
The total global fruit production was 883 million tons in 2019, increasing by 54% between 2000 and 2019. The major five fruit species accounted for 57% of the total production in 2019, i.e., bananas and plantains with 18%, watermelons with 11%, apples with 10%, and 9% each orange and grapes. Moreover, global vegetable production witnessed lucrative growth of up to 65%, accounting for 1,128 million tons in 2019. The European region accounted for USD 95,352 million of fruits and vegetable exports, followed by the Americas with USD 79,208 million and Asia with USD 78,076 million. These market trends will subsequently create a demand for specialty fertilizers in fruits and vegetables.