The biodegradable mulch film market is expected to register a CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast period 2021 - 2026. Biodegradability in the soil provides huge benefits for agricultural and horticultural products. Biodegradable mulching films has made rapid improvement in terms of usability that allows cultivators to plow in bioplastic mulch after use, instead of collecting them from the field for recycling, which improves operational efficiency. However, the potential environmental consequences of using biodegradable mulches have not been thoroughly studied, and the international standards, such as ISO 17088, ASTM D6400, ISO 17556, and ASTM D5988, for validating their safeness are in the ongoing research phase.
- The expansion of the greenhouse project drives the market. According to the World Greenhouse Vegetable Statistics, there are 1,228,000 acres of greenhouse growing space for production worldwide. Biodegradable plastic mulch fragments physically modify soil before they are fully biodegraded. However, PE plastic fragments reduce soil infiltration and water absorption, by which the accumulation may affect soil ecosystems in greenhouse plantation and ultimately, plant germination and growth. Thus, the demand for biodegradable mulch film market increases in this segment.
- Supportive regulation from the governments for organic mulching across the world is driving the market. For instance, in Europe, EN 17033 is the new product standard made for biodegradable mulch films used in agriculture and horticulture and specifies the necessary requirements and test methods. The standard is designed for a clear reference to farmers, distributors, and stakeholders. EN 17033 is more likely to replace other pre-existing national standards in Europe.
- High installation cost, along with the addition of harmful additives during the manufacturing process, challenges the growth of the market. The deficit of availability of such mulch films with high initial costs is challenging the growth. Moreover, the involvement of plasticizers in the manufacturing of biodegradable mulch film to make profits may challenge the market with growing awareness among the farmers.
Key Market Trends
Fruits and Vegetables to Account for a Significant Share
- The agricultural industry has recognized the major benefits of biodegradable mulch films in the reduction of soil compaction, fertilizer leaching, moisture evaporation, weed problems, and increasing soil temperature, which helps to obtain higher yield and increase early growth in crops, while providing the additional benefit of biodegrading.
- Due to the large proportion of mulch films used in fruits and vegetables and all the environmental problems related to their disposal, the biodegradable mulch films seem to be the best solution for replacing the conventional polyethylene mulches.
- Additionally, traditional mulch film waste causes an environmental problem, because it is very contaminated with soil and vegetable residues, turning the recycling process expensive and time-consuming, being an uneconomic activity. These biodegradable mulch films have the advantage of being disposed directly into the soil or into a composting system at the end of their lifetime and undergo biodegradation by soil microorganisms. This saves time and money both.
- BASF offers the polymer Ecovio M, which is made up of polymer PLA (polylactic acid), which contains biobased content, and it is completely biodegradable. The advantage is that the farmer does not have to laboriously collect the mulch films after harvest but can plow it directly, which helps in saving time and money.
- Additionally, a major concern for large-scale adoption of plastic mulch for crop productivity enhancement in the trans-Himalayan region could be the resultant pollution hazards caused by residual plastic film. In July 2019, the DRDO announced to do its research for the adoption of low-cost biodegradable mulching materials on crop growth. This further increases the market growth.
- Furthermore, Italy exports yearly tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to other countries, and players, such as Novamont, offer Mater-Bi mulch film for processing vegetables. Italy is the main European producer of tomato. According to the Associazione Nazionale Industriali Conserve Alimentari Vegetali, the export value of tomato products in Italy from the first half-year of 2018 to the first half-year of 2019 increased from EUR 779.5 million to EUR 847.6 million.
Asia-Pacific to Witness Significant Market Growth
- The Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at the highest rate in the biodegradable mulch film, as the increasing population, especially in China and India, resulted in the increasing demand for food, which leads to an increased usage of biodegradable mulch films in crop production.
- The government is also taking necessary steps to improve the productivity of crops. In January 2020, in China, the government's National Development and Reform Commission stated that China wants to promote non-plastic products, including biodegradable mulch film, in the agriculture sector.
- Additionally, in India, the government estimated the quantity production for pulses for the coming years, which significantly raises the demand for biodegradable mulch films. According to Seed Division, 3,975,165 quintal pulses are to be farmed during 2020-2021, with an increment of 308,947 quintals compared to the year 2019-2020.
- Furthermore, the Singapore-headquartered biotech startup RWDC industry announced that it closed a USD 13 million Series A2 round deal co-led by venture capital firms, Vickers Venture Partners and WI Harper Group. The money was primarily being used to expand RWDC's PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) production capacity in 2019.
The biodegradable mulch film market is fragmented, and the major players are using various strategies, such as new product launches and agreements, to increase their footprints in this market. Key players are BASF SE, BioBag International AS, etc. Recent developments in the market are -
- Aug 2019 - BASF announced a certified soil-biodegradable plastic for mulch films known as Ecovio M 2351, which is made from its biodegradable co-polyester known as PBAT (polybutylene adipate terephthalate) Ecoflex and other major biodegradable polymers that are based on renewable raw materials. Mulch films which are made of Ecovio M 2351 can be plowed into soil after its mechanical harvest, as naturally occurring micro-organisms recognize the structure of the film in the soil.
Reasons to Purchase this report:
- The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
- 3 months of analyst support