The fertilizer market was valued at USD 155.80 billion in 2019, and it is estimated to register a CAGR of 3.8%, during the forecast period (2020-2025). In 2019, Asia-Pacific was the largest geographical segment of the market studied and accounted for a share of around 60% of the overall market. The fertilizer industry was heavily challenged in 2016. It was confronted with uneven global nutrient demand, soft economic prospects, depressing crop prices, rising market competition, and volatile energy prices. This combination created high uncertainty in the fertilizer market throughout the year.
Since 2015, a sustained downturn in the world consumption of fertilizer market, coupled with decreasing crop prices, mainly in the United States and Asia - Pacific, has made it difficult to maintain consistent growth. The major technological innovations in the industry, along with growing demand for bio-based and micronutrient fertilizers, are expected to drive the market. However, regulatory and environmental constraints and high production costs are likely to act as drawbacks in the industry.
Key Market Trends
Decreasing per capita arable land and increasing demand for food
The global population is increasing at a rapid rate. This growing population is adding to the food demand. Supplying food to this growing population has become a threat. On the other hand, arable land is declining, due to industrialization and urbanization. Fertilizers have been used for a long time to increase the productivity of crops. The FAO, revealed in “The Resource Outlook to 2050”, that at this time, more than 1.5 billion hectares of the globe’s land surface (about 12%) is used for crop production. There is little scope for further expansion of agricultural land. Arable land per person has decreased by 1.5% from 1970 to 2009. There is pressure on the existing arable land to produce more food by using technologically advanced fertilizer in a sustainable way.
Asia - Pacific Dominates the Global Market
Asia - Pacific accounts for 60% of the fertilizer market. South Asia and East Asia are the major fertilizer consumers in Asia. In 2015, Asia’s share of global nitrogen consumption was 60%, with China representing approximately half of the said consumption. In Asia, rice is a big nitrogen-consuming crop. Owing to the growing concern over the current pattern of fertilizer use, with heavy reliance on nitrogenous fertilizer, coupled with poor nutrition management, lack of complementary inputs, declining soil fertility, and weak marketing and distribution systems, have all emerged as major restraints to improve fertilizer effectiveness in the region. These concerns have given way to biofertilizers and micronutrient fertilizers to grow and fuel the fertilizer market in the region.
According to FAO 2018, Africa will be the major exporter of phosphate, followed by nitrogen and depend solely on the import of potash. North America would increase the supply of nitrogen fertilizer but continue to rely on Imports. During the forecast period, Latin America and the Caribbean will continue importing nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. East Asia on nitrogen imports will continue. West Asia has a surplus of all. Its a major contributor to global nitrogen supply.
The fertilizer market is consolidated, and the top ten players constitute a large share, while the other fertilizer companies constitute for the smaller part of the market share, based on overall fertilizer market revenue in 2019. The companies in the market are investing heavily in product development, especially in the complex fertilizer segment. The market is also moving towards the usage of customized solutions for specific crops and specific regions. The major players in the market are Yara International ASA, The Mosaic Company, Nutrien Limited, K+S AG and Groupe OCP, among others.
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