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Challenges and Opportunities in Biostimulant Market Growthqrcode

Aug. 9, 2023

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Aug. 9, 2023

Spain  Spain

image.pngThe biostimulant market is growing exponentially, but biostimulant providers face significant challenges when expanding markets for their products. How do the leading players in the industry address the challenges while grasping opportunities and harnessing their advanced technologies for market growth? 

Alejandro de las Casas, International CEO at Kimitec shared his views with us.

What are the main challenges of expanding biostimulant adoption? 

In recent years, we have witnessed an exponential growth and renewed interest in the field of biostimulants, which has revolutionized the approach of farmers and the scientific community towards food production and environmental stewardship.

However, it is crucial to highlight that the absence of a consistent definition and regulatory framework has historically enabled numerous local and regional manufacturers in various countries to exploit the growing demand by offering low-quality products. This lack of effectiveness and transparency regarding their composition has resulted in the misconception that biostimulants are nothing more than "snake oils." Consequently, the substantial benefits they can provide in terms of plant growth, crop quality, yield, and sustainability management often go unnoticed. Overcoming these misconceptions remains the primary barrier to the widespread adoption of biostimulants.

Fortunately, significant progress is being made in several markets to address the regulation of biostimulants. In Europe, the European Commission introduced the new Fertilizing Products Regulation (FPR) (Regulation (EU) 2019/1009), which came into effect in July 2022. This regulation has strengthened the regulatory framework for biostimulants in Europe, ensuring better control and oversight.

Furthermore, various countries around the world are taking steps to enact biostimulant legislation. India, Mexico, Uruguay, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, and Ecuador are among the countries actively implementing regulations for biostimulants, recognizing their importance in agriculture.

In the United States, although progress is being made, there is still ongoing discussion and not all states have accepted the draft regulation.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that certain significant agricultural countries such as Brazil, Morocco, Turkey, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and China have not yet established their own specific biostimulant regulations. This highlights the need for further efforts to promote regulatory frameworks in these countries, ensuring the effective management and quality control of biostimulant products.

The industry faces an additional challenge: the proliferation of similar product formulas from various competitors has eroded consumer loyalty and diminished the brand value of these products. Despite the significant growth observed in the biostimulants industry and the increasing number of competitors seeking entry, cutting-edge biotech companies in the coming decade will be tasked with exploring innovative approaches to provide efficient and effective farming solutions on a global scale.

In Kimitec, we are actively developing a new generation of biostimulants through our proprietary research methodology. Our approach leverages the synergy of natural sources and harnesses Artificial Intelligence to expedite and deepen our discovery capabilities. This unique methodology empowers us to build a diverse portfolio of innovative products that deliver unprecedented results across a wide range of crops. Furthermore, our Open Innovation 360º philosophy enables us to collaborate with industry leaders, such as Bayer, extending our solutions to millions of farmers worldwide. 

Addressing the lack of knowledge surrounding the science and mode of action of biostimulants is another challenge we are actively overcoming. Through our own digital training platform, Kimitec University, we offer interactive content that educates users about the intricate workings of our products within plant physiology. What sets us apart is our commitment to providing a clear explanation of how our products work, backed by rigorous efficacy tests to earn registration. 

In conclusion, the biostimulants market is experiencing unparalleled growth, demanding determination to overcome challenges and embrace innovation. By dispelling misconceptions, strengthening regulatory frameworks, promoting product differentiation, fostering collaboration, and investing in knowledge dissemination, we can unlock the true potential of biostimulants and drive positive change in global agriculture. 

More and more biostimulants are applied in combination with pesticides or fertilizers. What are the market opportunities for biostimulants under such a combination?

The integration of biostimulants with pesticides and fertilizers offers a unique synergy that holds immense potential for farmers and the agricultural industry. By combining these products, we can achieve a comprehensive approach to plant health, productivity, and sustainability.

One of the key market opportunities lies in enhancing the efficacy of insecticides and fungicides. Biostimulants have the remarkable ability to improve the plant's natural defence mechanisms, making it more resistant to pests and diseases. When used in conjunction with pesticides, biostimulants can enhance their effectiveness, reducing the reliance on chemical inputs and minimizing environmental impacts. This not only provides a more sustainable approach to crop protection but also reduces the risk of pesticide resistance, which has become a significant concern in modern agriculture.

In addition, biostimulants play a crucial role in minimizing the phytotoxicity caused by herbicides. In certain crops, the application of herbicides can result in a significant decrease in production, ranging from 10% to 30%, due to chemical damage. By using a specific biostimulant alongside herbicide application, farmers can not only mitigate the negative effects of herbicides, but also experience a return on investment ranging from 7% to 15%. This highlights the significant advantage of reducing the stress that plants experience in the crop, ultimately contributing to improved productivity and yield.

Furthermore, the combination of biostimulants with fertilizers presents an opportunity to optimize nutrient uptake and utilization by plants. Biostimulants can enhance nutrient use efficiency, absorption, root development, and nutrient translocation within the plant, maximizing the benefits derived from fertilizers. This can lead to improved crop yield, quality, and overall plant health while reducing nutrient losses and environmental contamination.

Moreover, the integration of biostimulants with pesticides and fertilizers opens doors to innovative product formulations and application techniques. Companies can explore novel combinations, fine-tune dosages, and develop targeted delivery systems to ensure the optimal interaction between these products. This creates a fertile ground for research and development, driving innovation and enabling the development of tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of different crops, regions, and farming practices.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that the successful integration of biostimulants with pesticides and fertilizers requires careful consideration and scientific expertise. Comprehensive studies, field trials, and collaboration between biostimulant manufacturers, pesticide producers, and fertilizer companies are imperative to validate the compatibility, efficacy, and safety of these combined applications. Collaborative efforts will help establish best practices and guidelines, enabling farmers to harness the full potential of these synergistic solutions while ensuring responsible and sustainable agriculture.

In conclusion, the combination of biostimulants with pesticides and fertilizers presents exciting market opportunities in the agricultural sector. By leveraging the unique advantages of each product and promoting their integration, we can enhance pest and disease management, optimize nutrient utilization, and drive sustainable farming practices. As a forward-thinking company, we are dedicated to exploring these opportunities, conducting research, and collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative and effective solutions that empower farmers worldwide.


What advanced technologies do you apply to the R&D of biostimulants? 

At MAAVi, our research center, we develop a comprehensive approach to crop biostimulation based on our BNS Platform, which revolves around three key pillars: biostimulation, nutrition, and soil health.

Biostimulation is focused on improving crop vigor, yield, and harvest quality by leveraging plant physiology during different stages of growth. Through various methods, we enhance the plant's natural processes to optimize its performance.

Nutrition plays a crucial role in ensuring that plants receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and productivity. We work to ensure that nutrients are readily available and easily absorbed by the plants, enabling them to reach their full potential.

Maintaining soil health is of utmost importance as it is the foundation of successful farming. Our approach aims to preserve and enhance the productive potential, dynamism, and complexity of the soil, recognizing it as the farmers' most valuable asset.

We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of biostimulants. Each crop, climate, and stress factor requires a targeted approach. Drawing on over 15 years of research in natural agricultural products, we develop functional biostimulant products that address specific farmer needs. By leveraging the genetic potential and versatile metabolism of plants, microorganisms, and microalgae, we create formulas with superior efficacy compared to existing options in the market, whether natural or chemical. This enables us to tailor ingredients to meet specific requirements and modulate their effects accordingly.

Our commitment to precision extends to our research and development process. We employ cutting-edge analytical tools to analyse the composition and characterization of bio markers responsible of the biostimulant activity with exceptional accuracy. This ensures consistent homogeneity, quality and efficacy in our products.

Data-driven decision-making is an integral part of our R&D strategy. Through our artificial intelligence platform, LINNA, and machine learning algorithms, we process vast amounts of data to uncover valuable patterns and correlations. This allows us to optimize our formulations, identify key success factors, and adapt our products to different crops, environments, and farming practices, accelerating our innovation efforts.

Collaboration is another key aspect of our R&D approach. We actively seek partnerships with research institutions, universities, and industry experts. By collaborating with leading minds in the field, we tap into a wealth of knowledge and expertise, pushing the boundaries of biostimulant technology.

Sustainability is at the forefront of our R&D efforts. We aim to develop biostimulants that not only enhance crop performance but also contribute to environmental preservation and resource efficiency. We employ technologies that minimize waste, reduce environmental impact, and promote ecological balance, aligning our products with sustainable agricultural practices.

In summary, our utilization of advanced technologies, such as molecular biology, computational biology, systems biology, and artificial intelligence, combined with collaboration and a focus on sustainability, positions us as innovators in the biostimulant field. Our goal is to develop effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly solutions that empower farmers and contribute to a more resilient and productive agricultural sector.

image.pngWhere are your biostimulants provided? What do you think is their local market potential? 

In terms of the availability of our biostimulants, they are provided in over 90 countries worldwide. We have established subsidiaries in key regions such as the USA, Brazil, LATAM, South Africa, and China. Additionally, we have sales offices in 21 different countries including Morocco, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Baltic States, Argentina, Russia, Central Asia, Poland, France, Kenya, Lithuania, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, India, Latvia, Colombia, Japan, and Australia.

The local market potential for biostimulants is immense in every country, driven by several compelling factors:

Abiotic stress: With the increasing impact of global warming, regions like Southern Europe are facing challenges of drought and unpredictable weather patterns. Biostimulants play a crucial role in addressing abiotic stress issues faced by plants.

Unlocking yield potential: Biostimulants have the ability to enhance plant growth, thereby improving yields. As conventional fertilizers and pesticides are being reduced, biostimulants provide a promising solution for increasing productivity.

Improvement of natural plant defenses: With the reduction in pesticide options, there is a need to explore alternative approaches to plant protection. Biostimulants can contribute to the development of plant's natural defenses, offering a sustainable solution.

Nutrient efficiency: The need to optimize fertilizer usage and reduce environmental impact is of utmost importance. Biostimulants assist in improving nutrient efficiency, allowing for a more sustainable and responsible approach to fertilization.

Soil health: Recognizing the crucial role of soil in sustainable agriculture, there is an increasing focus on soil health and regeneration. Biostimulants contribute to soil improvement, aiding in carbon sequestration, water retention, and revitalization of soil.

Crops: The use of biostimulants is no longer limited to high-value or export crops, horticultural or fruit crops. It is already being extensively used in crops such as soybean, corn, wheat and sugar cane in Brazil, demonstrating the vast potential market for biostimulants in all types of crops.

Overall, biostimulants play a critical role in achieving better and more sustainable agricultural production. At Kimitec, we are committed to leveraging our technology to support the transformation of global food systems.

It is important to highlight the link between food security and healthy soils. Future food security relies on the presence of fertile soils that can sustainably produce food for generations to come. Supporting farmers in maintaining healthy soils is vital for efficient food production, carbon capture, water retention, and various other benefits.

We are worldwide facing a soil crisis, with declining soil health and fertility posing significant challenges to agricultural productivity, food security, livelihoods, and environmental sustainability across the globe. Issues such as loss of soil biodiversity, organic matter, fertility, water scarcity, wind erosion, soil acidification, and soil salinity need to be addressed urgently.

Our focus extends beyond profitability, encompassing social and environmental aspects. We are dedicated to the rehabilitation of degraded lands, restoration of biodiversity, mitigation of climate change, enhancing crop productivity, ensuring farm profitability, and restoring agricultural ecosystems. By prioritizing sustainability, we aim to contribute to a healthier and more resilient agricultural sector.

Please give us some examples of growers’ common misconceptions about biostimulant application. What would you recommend to end-users to ensure the best performance of such products?

When it comes to biostimulant application, there are several common misconceptions among growers that need to be addressed. 

One common misconception is that biostimulants contain hormones. However, it's important to clarify that biostimulants work by stimulating the plant's natural physiological processes without directly supplying hormones.

Another misconception is that biostimulants are fertilizers. While fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants, biostimulants focus on enhancing the plant's overall health and performance by stimulating physiological processes like improving nutrient uptake, root development, and stress resistance.

Some growers mistakenly believe that biostimulants have a direct phytosanitary effect, acting as pest control agents. However, biostimulants primarily aim to improve plant growth, quality, and stress tolerance, indirectly supporting plant defense mechanisms.

It is also a misconception that all biostimulants are the same. Biostimulants can vary in composition, ingredients, and modes of action. In our case, we develop specific formulations tailored to address different plant needs and environmental conditions. It's crucial for growers to understand that not all biostimulants will deliver the same results, and selecting the right product for their specific needs is essential.

Some growers mistakenly assume that all biostimulants contain microorganisms. While certain biostimulants may incorporate microorganisms as part of their formulation, many others work through different mechanisms without the presence of live microorganisms. Microorganisms are just one of the many potential components that can be found in biostimulants, depending on their intended mode of action.

At Kimitec, we strive to address these misconceptions by developing innovative biostimulant solutions that provide tangible benefits to growers. Our products are designed to enhance plant responses to stresses caused by climate, abiotic and biotic stresses, the use of herbicides and pesticides, etc. 

We understand the significance of optimizing application methods to ensure maximum efficiency when using our biostimulants. Our products can be applied using various methods, whether it's seed treatment, foliar applications, tank mixes, spraying in drip irrigation, or direct application on the soil, our biostimulants provide a wide range of options for growers.

To achieve the best results, it is crucial to follow the recommendations on the label regarding timing and application rate. These guidelines provide valuable instructions on when and how to apply the biostimulants to maximize their effectiveness. By adhering to the recommended timing and application rates, growers can ensure optimal results and enhance plant health, productivity, and sustainability.

We are committed to providing growers with biostimulants that are not only effective but also easy to use and apply. We strive to support growers in making informed decisions and utilizing our products in the most efficient and effective manner. By optimizing application methods and following recommended guidelines, growers can unlock the full potential of our biostimulants and achieve the desired outcomes for their crops.

This interview was originally published in the magazine 2023 Biologicals Special.



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