COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Biodegradable Mulch Film is projected to reach US$63.2 million by 2025, driven by growing concerns over the impact of agricultural production on climate change. Carbon footprint of crops includes direct soil and indirect soil N2O emissions; soil carbon change; CO2 fertilizer and machinery manufacturing; CO2 field operations; CO2 on-farm transport, among others. With agriculture contributing to over 20.4% of global man made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, pressure is mounting on the agricultural sector to minimize its role in climate change. Mulching as a practice gained significance over the last two decades due to benefits such as increase in soil temperature, reduced weed growth, moisture conservation, reduction of certain insect pests, higher crop yields, efficient use of soil nutrients and increased water use efficiency in farmlands. However, unsafe disposal of used plastic films has created an huge environmental burden requiring immediate remediation. Soil emission is the one the biggest areas of concern with plastic mulching identified as the chief cause of increased soil CO2 concentration and emissions. Plastic film-mulched field plots tend to have higher carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations. The scenario is driving special interest in biodegradable plastic and paper mulch films. Biodegradable mulch offers several benefits such as eco-friendliness and sustainability when compared to polyethylene (PE) mulch; least impact on soil biological and biogeochemical processes; reduced risk of microbial community changes and functioning via microclimate modification; elimination of labor costs and landfill disposal fees associated with removing and disposing PE mulch; lower environmental burden when compared to on-farm burning and stockpiling issues associated with PE mulches; cost effective, easy application, zero toxic residues in the soil and ensures agroecosystem sustainability.
Continuous R&D and technology innovations have today helped in enhancing field performance of biodegradable mulches and use of natural substances and polymers such as poly(lactic acid), poly(butylene adipate-coterephthalate), poly(?-caprolactone), and starch-based polymer blends or copolymers are aiding its adoption in organic farming. The need to sustainably meet growing population and increased food demand, achieve agricultural productivity and yield per acre goals, address the challenge of shrinking arable land and the threat it poses for food security goals, all provide strong opportunities for biodegradable mulch. Other major factors influencing growth in the market include growing demand for organic foods and increased allocation of land for organic farming; favorable regulations that support and encourage the use of biodegradable mulch films; and innovations in paper mulch which earlier plagued by short life, and higher cost of material and labor. Asia-Pacific (excluding China) and Europe represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 46.2%. China ranks as the second fastest growing market with a 8.6% CAGR over the analysis period. Given that unaddressed and uncontrolled climate change can impact agricultural production, food prices, agricultural trade and food self-sufficiency, the Chinese government has laid special emphasis on curbing emissions resulting in increased implementation of sustainable strategies in the agricultural sector. As the country seeks to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, biodegradable mulch are poised to gain in the coming years.