Plants require 17 essential nutrients for better growth. Carbon, oxygen and hydrogen are derived from the air, while macronutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and calcium are derived from soils. Other essential nutrients that are required in small amounts are called micronutrients. Micronutrients are essential elements for plant growth. Yellowing of leaves, necrosis and gummosis are some of the diseases in plants caused by the deficiency of micronutrients. Major micronutrients required by crops and plants include boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc and chlorine.
The global micronutrients market is expanding due to high demand for quality and uniform yield owing to rising population. Food security is one of the major challenges faced by the global agriculture industry. Depleting arable land is another major concern in most regions. The amount of nutrients in the soil has diminished due to adoption of new technologies and increasing pressure on agricultural land to deliver quality yields. Large area of agricultural land is deficient in micronutrients. This results in low quality crops and lower output. Micronutrients can help alleviate deficiencies in soil and enhance the quality of crops. Furthermore, deficiency of micronutrients in soil across various regions has been driving the global market over the past few years. Soil across various regions is deficient in zinc, boron and iron, among others. However, higher prices of micronutrients coupled with lack of awareness among farmers about dosage levels, technology and applications is likely to hamper growth of the micronutrients market in the near future. Depleting arable land and increasing demand for hydroponically produced food is expected to offer opportunities for growth in the micronutrients market over the next few years.
Demand for micronutrients was the highest from cereals such as wheat, barley, maize and oats among others. This crop type was one of the highest revenue generators and rapidly growing segments in 2013. Pulses and oilseeds accounted for the second-largest demand of 29.6% for micronutrients in 2013. Fruits and vegetables is another major and rapidly growing outlet for micronutrients. Other types of crops such as flowers are estimated to offer higher opportunities for the market in the next few years. Demand for chelated micronutrients is projected to rise in the near future due to increasing demand for direct and efficient type of micronutrients.
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Companies such as Agrium Inc., BASF SE, Coromandel International Ltd., The Mosaic Company, Wolf Trax Inc., and Yara International are the major manufacturers in the micronutrients market.