U.S. Pesticide Demand To Exceed $8 Billion in 2008

After several years of fairly substantial market value declines, U.S. demand for pesticide active ingredients is projected to rebound, growing 1.3 percent per year to $8.1 billion in 2008. Gains will be prompted by modest volume growth in agriculture, commercial and consumer market segments.

Growth will also be boosted by rising use of biopesticides and reduced risk conventional pesticides. Moreover, industry analyst Mike Richardson expects that the pricing climate, which has been especially difficult in recent years due to patent expirations and overall market maturity, will improve slightly. These trends are presented in Pesticides, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industrial market research firm.

Biopesticides are expected to register the fastest growth of any product type, due to new biopesticide active ingredient introductions, and the greater use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and similar products. Richardson predicts, “Gains will be based on the market penetration of new products, and supported by growing user acceptance of alternatives to traditional pesticide products, coupled with efforts to reduce the use of organophosphate insecticides and other products considered to be environmental threats.”

Herbicides will remain the dominant product type, accounting for about 60 percent of the market in both volume and value terms. However, projected growth for herbicides will be only one percent per year, due in part to pricing constraints for the off-patent products that lead the market, such as atrazine, glyphosate and 2,4-D. Insecticides and fungicides are expected to register comparable growth, although insecticide volume in the large agricultural market is expected to decline, due to wider use of Bt and transgenic seeds that are more resistant to pests. Among insecticides, the best growth prospects will be for products that can replace organophosphates.

The consumer market is expected to register the fastest growth through 2008, with gains fueled by a shift in the product mix favoring safer, ready-to-use products. Opportunities will also arise from continued growth in vegetable and flower gardening, and from products that require minimal handling. Agriculture will remain the largest market, accounting for nearly two-thirds of value demand and more than three-quarters of volume demand. The mature US agriculture market will not expand dramatically, as total planted acreage remains virtually constant.

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