Agricultural films are protective films that are placed over soil, wrapped around fodder or covered over greenhouses. Agricultural films offer several advantages such as reducing soil compaction and erosion, increasing soil temperature, providing nutrients, suppressing the growth of weeds, supporting seed germination, and protecting against UV rays. Agricultural films can be classified based on their applications as: greenhouse film, mulch film, and silage film. They are generally manufactured using polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer (EVOH) among other materials. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) dominate the overall agricultural films market. Due to capacity additions of PE in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, the prices of these films have relatively reduced.
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Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is expected to be the fastest growing film type growing at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2013 to 2019. LLDPE and LDPE together accounted for more than 78% of the total demand in 2012. LDPE film is expected to reach nearly USD 2059 million by 2019. Reclaimed films are widely used in developed countries due to environmental regulations regarding use of plastics. The consumption of reclaimed film is expected to reach nearly 315 kilo tons by 2019. The other film types such as PVC, EVOH, etc. are expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% between 2013 and 2019. HDPE films find limited applications as they are known for their rigid characteristics. HDPE films accounted for more than 7% of the total market in 2012.
Agricultural films are predominantly used in greenhouse and mulching applications. Greenhouse and mulching applications together accounted for more than 85% of the overall market in 2012. Greenhouse application is expected to reach more than 2768 kilo tons by 2019. Mulching and silage application is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% and 5.4% respectively, from 2013 to 2019. The growing demand for vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. is expected to drive the market for greenhouse films especially in Asia Pacific. It is expected to be fastest growing application during the forecast period, expected to reach USD 4145 million by 2019. In terms of revenue, silage films are expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 7.9% between 2013 and 2019.
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The market for agricultural film is highly fragmented with no clear leader. Top five manufacturers accounted for nearly 23% of the overall market in 2012. There are large numbers of small manufacturers in China with very small market share. Some of the major industry participants include Ab Rani Plast Oy, AEP Industries, Armando Alvarez, Britton Group, Berry Plastics, BASF, British Polyethylene Industries, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemicals, Novamont, Kuraray, Hyplast NV and Trioplast among others. Biodegradable films have emerging opportunities in the next five years. High cost of disposal and adverse impact of plastics on environment has led to shift towards biodegradable and bio based films.