Biostimulants and biopesticides for a greener agriculture

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The market of organic products for agriculture such as biostimulants, biopesticides and biofertilisers is rapidly growing because agriculture is trying to move towards more sustainable ways of increasing crops using new protection methods that do not exploit chemicals. A report by IDTechEx, a research company that investigates emerging technologies, gives us a complete analysis of the marketing and development of these emerging substances by examining various categories of products and over 40 companies with a decennial market forecast according to which agricultural organic products will reach a value of 19.5 billion dollars, biostimulants 7.5 billion dollars, biopesticides 12 billion dollars.

Biostimulants are substances with an organic origin that can be used on plants or in the soil in order to improve nutrient absorption and stress tolerance, and to optimise growth conditions. For instance, Pivot Bio is a Californian start up that is developing PROVEN, a treatment for seeds that use genetically modified nitrogen fixers in order to create a symbiotic relationship with the roots of corn plants, so as to increase the absorption of nutrients.

Biopesticides contain microbes or natural products. They have numerous advantages if compared to synthetic chemical pesticides: they are less toxic and generally affect only the parasite and correlated organisms, instead of all the wildlife that surrounds a plant. Biopesticides are often already efficient when used in small quantities and they decompose easily, thus avoiding pollution problems, especially when used as components in the strategy for the integrated management of parasites.

However, there are various obstacles to be overcome before companies that produce these products can reach their full potential. Norms in this regard are still evolving and both categories of products require a formal definition and clear norms. Biostimulants should be regulated with adequate norms that certify their efficiency and performance. Instead, they are not regulated and they are introduced on the market without guarantees that these products are truly qualitative. Biopesticides face similar problems: they often have to be registered with a similar process to that of chemical pesticides, which is inadequate to their typical characteristics (i.e. purity). As a consequence, their introduction in the market is complicated.

Moreover, the production of organic products for agriculture is fragmented, so it is difficult for companies to stand out and for farmers to distinguish the differences between substances, thus damaging the credibility of the sector and obstructing its development.

The complete research can be found on: https://www.idtechex.com/en/research-report/biostimulants-and-biopesticides-2021-2031-technologies-markets-and-forecasts/773

 

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Umberto Andolfato is the headmaster of ITT CAT Carlo Brazzi in Milan and Vice President of AIAPP Lombardy. He is also a freelance worker who has developed significant experience on landscape both on a private and public level, in Italy and abroad. He has started getting involved in landscape studies in 1994, from 2010 to 2016 he has been professor of Landscape Architecture at Politecnico di Milano, where he has developed research and projects on Landscape and smart land. He is also professor of Garden design at the Scuola Arte e Messaggio. Since 2015 he is consultant for Myplant & Garden and responsible of Myplantech.