Escalated Adoption of GM Crops to Drive Global Glyphosate Market

Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl glycine) comprises a broad spectrum of standardized herbicides used to kill weeds, particularly grass and perennial broadleaf weeds that compete with field crops produced for commercial purposes. Since its discovery and market launch by Monsanto in 1970, the herbicide has been used by farmers on a large scale as a non-selective herbicide.

Glyphosate herbicides hold special significance, as this is the first herbicide against which crops have been genetically modified to enhance tolerance. With the development of genetically modified (GM) crops that are resistant to glyphosates, the use of the herbicide has increased substantially.

The global glyphosate market was worth US$5.46 billion in 2012 and will be worth US$8.79 billion by 2019, displaying a 7.2% CAGR from 2013 to 2019.

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Increased Acceptance of GM Crops in Emerging Economies to Drive Global Market

Globally, considerable amount of total glyphosate produced is used for herbicide application on GM crops. Glyphosates also find application for weed control in vineyards, fruit orchards, forestry, underwater application in lakes and other water bodies, olive groves, grass pastures, and gardens.

Increasing acceptance and adoption of glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops, predominantly in emerging economies in Asia Pacific and Latin America, will accentuate the global glyphosate market considerably in the coming years.

Conventional crops, which are a major application of glyphosates, accounted for 54.8% of the total consumption in 2012.

Additionally, rising demand for no tillage farming practices is contributing to the growth of this market. Factors such as regulatory mandates for the use of genetically modified crops, particularly in Europe, and inevitable growth of glyphosate-resistant weeds is restraining growth of the market.

To counter such factors, key players are focused on developing integrated weed management systems, which eliminate sole dependence on glyphosates and prevent soil erosion and excessive use of agrochemicals.

China to Account as Major Exporter of Low-cost Generic Glyphosate Formulations

The regional market segment of Asia Pacific is growing in the global glyphosate market at a rate higher than was expected. By volume, the region will display a CAGR of 7% between 2012 and 2019. Emerging economies such as India and China are dominating the market in the region.

China emerged as a major exporter, accounting for 30% of global exports of low-priced generic formulations of glyphosate post Monsanto’s patent expiration in 1991 over glyphosate outside the U.S. Owing to this, manufacturers from China faced anti-dumping scrutiny for low priced generic formulations in Australia and Europe.

Among the regional markets, Europe accounted for 16.6% of overall glyphosate demand by volume in 2012. Despite growing at a CAGR of 5.6% by 2019, the market is expected to lose market share to emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region.

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Strict regulatory stance towards the adoption of GM crops in Europe is causing a negative impact on the overall glyphosate market. European regulatory agencies adhere to strict regulatory mandates on cultivating GM crops, as uncontrolled adoption of GM crops in the U.S. has led to extensive use of herbicides such as glyphosate, which has further led to the evolution of glyphosate-tolerant weeds.

North America is listed as the major revenue generator in the global glyphosate market. This is because more expensive standardized glyphosate products are available in this regional market, in contradiction to the cheap generic products available in the Asia Pacific regional market.

Some of the major companies producing glyphosate formulations are Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta.

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