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Demand for biodegradable mulch films to gain from enhanced greenhouse applications, depleting arable land

Demand for biodegradable mulch films to gain from enhanced greenhouse applications, depleting arable land

03-Apr-17

The global biodegradable mulch films market value is expected to reach US$64.3 mln by 2024, according to a report by Grand View Research. Growing population coupled with depleting arable land is anticipated to drive the market growth over the next eight years. Biodegradable mulch films are used to enhance crop quality by suppressing weed growth and maintaining soil temperature.  Biodegradable mulch films have a lower environmental impact as they do not produce any harmful waste, and their disposal is easy. Government regulations promoting bio-based product usage, especially in Europe and North America is expected to drive market growth over the foreseeable future. Key players in the industry have been investing in R&D to develop fully bio-based mulch films.  Fruits & vegetables emerged as the leading crop using biodegradable mulch films and accounted for 51.1% of total market revenue in 2015 and is also anticipated to witness the fastest growth over the next eight years. The high growth may be attributed to biofilm ability to prevent fruits from rotting by preventing contact between fruit and soil.
Further key findings from the report suggest:
* Thermoplastic starch (TPS) was the leading raw material in 2015 and is expected to reach a market worth US$47.3 mln by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2016 to 2024. The high demand may be attributed to the easy availability of starch at low prices coupled with an inability to produce any harmful products when placed in soil.
* Starch blended with polylactic acid (PLA) is also expected to witness a brisk growth over the forecast period. The high growth may be attributed to their advantage of being produced from 99% biobased material coupled with growing PLA films demand particularly in Europe.
* Asia Pacific was the major consumer and accounted for 64.1% of global revenue in 2015 and is expected to witness the fastest growth in the biodegradable mulch film market over the next eight years owing to growing industrialization resulting in rising food demand.
* Major companies operating in the global biodegradable mulch film industry include Kingfa Sci & Tech Co Ltd, Al-Pack Enterprises Ltd, BioBag International AS, RKW SE, AEP Industries Inc, BASF, Novamont, British Polythene Industries PLC, Armando Alvarez and Ab Rani PlastOy. Major companies have been adopting various strategies such as M&A, joint ventures, new product development and capacity expansions to increase their market share.

As per Zion Market Research, the global mulch film market is estimated to reach US$4.2 bln by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 6.3% during 2016-2021. Mulching is a way to keep crop weed free and healthy. In mulching soil around the crop is covered with any material for protection or improvement of the area covered. Mulch film is a polyethene material used for the mulching purpose. Mulch films are mostly blends of Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) both are economical polymers with widely favorable chemical and mechanical resistance properties. For light-spectrum modification, Israel pioneered the first colored mulch films to raise plant yields. Colors in mulch film were first introduced in Europe a decade ago and were anticipated to take over 20% of the market. Instead, colored mulch film has remained largely developmental. The cause of color in mulch films is specific to particular plants. By reflecting light in the red and far-red spectrum (580-700 nm) back onto the leaves and developing fruit, red mulch film encourages tomato plants to produce more fruit in this manner red mulch film encourages the yield. For crops like peppers and melons, green mulch film is best whereas blue mulch film gives a good result with squash and eggplant. The colored mulch films are most successful in cooler regions. Colored mulch film has a correlation with the change in season; for e.g. in midsummer, a black or red mulch film would get so hot that it could burn the fruit or leaves of the crop hence the market is subject to change with the change in season. However, mulch film contributes a large share in crop cultivation. Qualities like prevention of weed growth, conservation of soil moisture by reducing water evaporation losses and lowering irrigation need it is driving the market. 
While the market increments, the raw material market will also increase. Mulching practice helps in increasing yields, providing better quality produce, enhancing insect management and early maturity of crops, which provides additional financial benefits to the grower. The regulations in Western European markets on the usage of non-biodegradable plastics are restricting the demand for agricultural films. Furthermore, the high installation cost of the films is also a big challenge of the market.

As per MarketsandMarkets, the global biodegradable mulch films market size is projected to grow from US$5.76 mln in 2016 to US$52.43 mln by 2021, at a CAGR of 7.95% from 2016 to 2021. The growth of biodegradable mulch films market can be attributed to the rising demand of biodegradable mulch films in greenhouse, increased applications in agriculture, and rising environmental concerns that shifted the focus of growers toward eco-friendly mulch films.
The starch segment in the biodegradable mulch films market is projected to have the largest share in terms of size, during the forecast period. Starch has gained high demand in the biodegradable mulch films market owing to its wide availability, low cost, and potential application in the production of biodegradable mulch films. Starch-based mulch films have become popular with starch being an inexpensive and abundant natural polymer that can produce a film structure. In addition, it also degrades into harmless products when placed in contact with soil microorganisms. High amylose content in starch helps in the formation of strong and flexible biodegradable mulch films. The high demand of thermoplastic starch in the biodegradable mulch films market can be attributed to its low cost, renewability, abundance, biodegradability, and availability from agricultural crops. Additionally, the environmental issues concerning the use of conventional synthetic polymers have shifted the focus of growers toward the adoption of biodegradable materials made from the renewable resources. This has driven the growth of thermoplastic starch in the biodegradable mulch film market.
Fruits & vegetables segment is estimated to have the largest share in the biodegradable mulch films market in 2015 and the current trend is expected to follow during the forecast period. The market for biodegradable mulch films for the growth of fruits & vegetables is very promising as their application to these crops is convenient (due to the perennial nature of crops in most cases) and sustainable. Biodegradable mulch films improve the quality of produce and reduce fruit rot by preventing contact between fruit and soil.
Asia-Pacific has a high growth potential for biodegradable mulch films. China is among the leading countries for biodegradable mulch films as the country faces industrial growth and urbanization which have led to higher standards of living among consumers, resulting in rise in demand for food products. This in turn drives the market for biodegradable mulch films. In addition, biodegradable mulch films do not produce wastes that require disposal, and hence represent a sustainable ecological mulching alternative and wide acceptance in the region. Biodegradable mulch films have a favorable growth in this region.

As per Research and Markets, the growth of the biodegradable mulch films market can be attributed to the rising demand of biodegradable mulch films in greenhouse, increased applications in agriculture, and rising environmental concerns that shifted the focus of growers toward eco-friendly mulch films.  The Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at the highest rate in the biodegradable mulch films market. China is on the top of the list in terms of sales of biodegradable mulch films. Increasing population, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, has resulted in increasing demand for food, which will lead to increased usage of biodegradable mulch films in crop production. The rising population and shrinking agricultural land due to industrialization and urbanization have compelled farmers to produce more in the same land holding. Hence, farmers are using biodegradable mulch films in large numbers owing to its lower impact on environment, while enhancing crop yield by reducing competitive weed pressure, maintaining soil moisture levels, and modulating soil temperature.

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