Global agricultural films market size was estimated at USD 6.25 billion in 2013. Growing food demand owing to ever-expanding population along with increasing requirement for optimum agricultural productivity is expected to augment market growth over the forecast period. Declining arable land and rising high-quality crop requirement are further estimated to fuel the industry growth over the foreseeable future
Agricultural films are used for covering greenhouses and placed over soil or wrapped around fodder. The products aid in improving crop quality and in increasing overall productivity. Growing need to increase agricultural productivity to fulfill daily demand of mounting population has led to commercialization of these specialty coverings.
Various innovations in the industry including Ultra Violet (UV) blocking, florescent, NIR blocking, and ultra-thermic films are expected to positively impact product penetration in the next six years. Disposal and environmental impacts associated are expected to hinder growth in the coming years. Various government regulations regarding use of plastics and polythene have negatively affected market growth.
Introduction of biodegradable and bio-based polymer films is expected to create lucrative opportunities for industry participants over the next few years. Biodegradable agricultural films are getting popular in mature regions due to their eco-friendliness. Technological advancements in horticulture coupled with development of particle, multi layer, and UV protection films to improve agricultural productivity are anticipated to bolster product demand over the foreseeable future.
North America agricultural films market volume by raw material, 2012-2020, (Kilo Tons)
Raw Material Insights
LLDPE had the largest market penetration in 2013 and is expected to witness fastest growth rates of over 6% over the forecast period. High-durability coupled with extended shelf life of finished products with high tensile strength and improved thermal properties is expected to fuel market penetration of the product over the forecast period. Development of biodegradable LLDPE films is estimated to further boost market growth over the next six years.
LDPE was the second major raw material segment and accounted for over 22% of the net revenue in 2013. LLDPE and LDPE are expected to be highly attractive product types due to their growing demand in Asia Pacific, especially in China. Their applications in agriculture are highly beneficial in areas with limited water supply and harsh climatic conditions.
HDPE and EVA/EBA films are expected to be medially attractive segments as they are used in agricultural applications, where rigidity is desired. HDPE films are mostly used in mulching and fumigation applications. Reclaims are recycled materials, which are expected to be less attractive as the tensile characteristics and prices of these products are not competitive as compared to other conventional polymers.
Other agricultural films manufactured from PVC and EVOH have low market penetration owing to non-competitive prices and low durability of finished products coupled with non-biodegradable nature of the products. Development of bio-PVC films and other innovative products are expected to create immense opportunities for market penetration over the forecast period.
Mulching emerged as the leading application segment and accounted for over 40% of total market volume in 2013. Increasing demand for high quality crop and rising disposable incomes is expected to drive its growth over the forecast period. Global agricultural films application in mulching is expected to exceed USD 440 million by 2020.
Greenhouse was the second major application segment and is expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. Growing green house agriculture in Asia, Middle East, and Western Europe is anticipated to have a positive impact on the growth over the forecast period. Factors such as growing demand for floriculture & horticulture and uncertain climatic conditions are anticipated to fuel market penetration in the segment. Greenhouse films help in improving productivity and plant cultivation.
China dominated the global agricultural film market and accounted for over 60% of the total demand in 2013. Over 80% of the farmers in the region use mulch. Favorable government initiatives such as R&D of protected agriculture practices are anticipated to drive industry growth in the region over the forecast period. China is estimated to witness fast growth over the foreseeable future.
Europe was another major regional market and is expected to witness stagnant growth in near future owing to slow economic growth in the region coupled with stringent environmental regulations regarding their disposal and manufacturing. However, shifting focus of consumers towards biodegradable materials in the region is anticipated to augment industry growth over the forecast period.
Rest of Asia Pacific and Latin America are also estimated to witness average growth in demand. Large number of cultivable lands along with advancements in agricultural technologies and implementation of effective horticulture techniques to increase crop yield may be attributed for increasing market penetration in economies including India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina.
Global agricultural films market share is highly fragmented owing to presence of several small-scale and regional players, particularly in China and rest of Asia Pacific. Top ten market leaders held just over 30% of total market share in 2013. British Polymer Industries (BPI) was the leading agricultural film manufacturer with a total market share of 6.6% in 2013.
Major companies operating in the industry include BP Industries (BPI), ExxonMobil, Trioplast, Group Barbier, Armando Alvarez, Britton Group, BASF, Novamont, Kuraray, and Ab Rani PlastOy. Major companies have been investing heavily on R&D to introduce innovative products such as agricultural bags for grain storage in order to increase their presence in the industry. Other strategies employed by companies include M&A, strategic collaborations with biotechnology firms and enhancing supply chain efficiency