On the basis of type, the global soil conditioners market is segmented into natural and synthetic types. Natural soil conditioners are used as a soil amendment to alleviate its poor properties and to increase its productivity. It is further segmented into polysaccharide derivatives and others such as animal dung, compost, sewage sludge, crop residues, and other organic amendments such as peat and tree bark. The ease of availability of materials is the key factor that driving the market of the natural soil conditioners. Synthetic soil conditioners are light-colored, water-soluble, and hygroscopic moisture absorber, comprising complex, long chain of molecules that are used for conditioning the soil.
The soil conditioners market, on the basis of application, is segmented into agricultural and industrial applications. The demand for soil conditioners is forecasted to increase in the next few years due to increasing awareness about soil management practices, to have better yield of crops. The oilseeds & pulses segment accounted for the largest market share in 2016.
Soil conditioners may be water-soluble, or hydrogels. Water-soluble polyacrylamides are mainly used for soil stabilization while hydrogels are applied to the soil to enhance its physical, chemical, and biological properties.
The Asia-Pacific region dominated the market and accounted for the largest share, in terms of both value and volume, in the global soil conditioners market, in 2016. Factors such as large population, vast agricultural land, wide acceptance of agricultural technologies and soil with poorly developed layers in countries of the Asia-Pacific region are driving the growth of the soil conditioners market.
The extent and causes of physical, chemical, and biological degradation of soil and soil loss have been largely observed in many European countries. The European Union, in June 2009, under the Commission Decision 2009/427/EC, formed the Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP) which would provide assistance related to organic farming. The group also drafted the template for the dossier mentioned in Art. 16(3) (b) of Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007 in relation to fertilizers and soil conditioners such as hydrolyzed proteins, leonardite, chitin, and sapropel.
Low level of awareness about the benefits of soil conditioning materials among the farmers is the key restraint for the growth of the market. Market players’ efforts in creating awareness and making availability of soil conditioning materials (especially synthetic products) will aid the market to witness significant growth in the projected period.
The leading players that dominated the soil conditioners market include BASF SE (Germany), The Dow Chemical Company (U.S.), Akzo Nobel N.V. (Netherlands), Evonik Industries AG (Germany), and Solvay S.A. (Belgium). Other players include Croda International Plc (U.K.), Clariant International AG (Switzerland), Lambent Corp. (U.S.), Adeka Corporation (Japan), and Eastman Chemical Company (U.S.). These key players have adopted strategic developments such as expansions & investments, collaborations & acquisitions, and agreements & investments to capture this emerging market.