How Essential are Micronutrients to Sustain the Global Agricultural Market?
Micronutrients are essential elements required by organisms in trace amounts to sustain their growth and overall development. Although the term ‘micronutrients’ is generally used in the context of vitamins and minerals, their requirement varies for every organism. When it comes to plants, they require specific minerals or elements. They include chloride (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), and Boron (B). Though plants require micronutrients in minute amounts, the lack of even one micronutrient can hamper its growth and development. This hindrance occurs despite other micronutrients being present in ample quantities.
Agriculture has been a source of income for many developing countries and has been instrumental in enhancing their economies. It warrants strict nutrient management, which in turn regulates environmental consequences. The balance of mineral nutrients determines the scope of plants production. Thus, micronutrients become an inevitable part of agriculture. Globally, the market for agricultural micronutrients is projecting a steady growth due to the rising world population and an increase in the consumption of biofuels.
The Parallel Pathway
The increasing population across the globe results in higher production of food. Since micronutrients are indispensable to agriculture, it is necessary to sustain, increase the output of micronutrients, and curb the deficiency of the same. The food requirements vary according to different regions, crops, plants, soil types and food choices. Cereals and grains are consumed in most of the countries across the Asia-Pacific and South America. The soil chemistry in these regions affects the production of cereals and pulses, which can be solved using micronutrients. Oilseeds and pulses are next in line when it comes to the most consumed crops in developing countries. It is facing a decline in production, and as a result, the use of crop micronutrients becomes essential, thereby increasing the demand of the market. For instance, iron, boron, and zinc are the micronutrients required for crops such as sunflower, cotton, and soybean. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables have been the latest trend across the globe, owing to nutritional benefits and rising health concerns. Zinc is the vital micronutrient for crops that fall in these categories, such as peas, legumes, grapes, onions, tomatoes, beans, etc.
Balance the Volume
The deficiency or higher concentration of micronutrients can produce disastrous results ranging from micronutrient toxicity to dwarfism in plants. Every micronutrient has a significant role to play in the overall outcome of a plant or a crop. Boron aids in carbohydrate distribution, whereas iron aids in the activation of cytochromes and catalases. Manganese aids in photosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism, whereas zinc aids in activating auxin, carbonic anhydrase, and dehydrogenases production in plants. Copper secures the chlorophyll production in a plant, while the other micronutrients are responsible for maintaining plant health. The information and awareness of micronutrients with regards to their use are equally important. Ignorance can hamper growth and production, resulting in losses and thereby affecting the global agricultural market.
The present framework is most conducive for the production of micronutrients as there is increasing awareness across the globe. As a result, many emerging companies of the global agricultural micronutrients market, like Akzo Nobel A.V, Yara International, Haifa Chemicals, etc., are focusing on innovating sustainable products to sustain the ever-growing demand.