An increasing number of farmers in North America are replacing chemical fertilizers with biofertilizers, which are less expensive and more environmentally-friendly, according to a company promoting the use of biofertilizers.  

The claim is that the continent's farmer focus on mass production, high crop productivity, large farms and cooperatives, and advanced farming technologies have further spurred demand for biofertilizers, broadening the scope of the market in North America.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), "Strategic Analysis of the Biofertilizers Market in North America," finds that the market earned revenues of over $132.9 million in 2011 which is projected to equal $205.6 million by 2018.

"Biofertilizers are available in nitrogen-fixing and phosphate-solubilizing forms, and can be combined into multi-functional formulations that increase yields per acre of legume and non-legume crops,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Raghu Tantry.

The research might be more believable if the company wouldn't have interjected comments that are rejected by all chemical fertilizer industry individuals. “Their (biofertilizer) prescribed usage also improves the quality of crops,” Tantry said.

Tantry did note what he classified as a downside, but it comes across as a complaint about being treated unfairly. He noted that biofertilizers need major investments and long timelines to meet stringent research and testing requirements. The barriers to market entry are high, as regulatory processes are expensive, involving expert teams, sophisticated research and field trials. Since not many companies are capable of developing reliable products, there are few tested brands in the market.

Additionally, purchasing processes often involve several time-consuming steps, such as technical decisions at the seed retailer and farmer levels, as well as price decisions at the purchasing agent level, the Frost & Sullivan research contends. 

"To penetrate the North American biofertilizer market, companies must provide technical support and customer service with staff that are well-versed in different crops, fertilizers and applications. They also need to create biofertilizer formulations that are compatible with the agricultural practices in the United States and Canada, which are more advanced than in most Western European countries," Frost & Sullivan reported. 

“The future of the biofertilizers market lies in multi-functional product types that can be used on non-legumes, legumes, as well as commodity crops,” said Frost & Sullivan Vice President of Chemicals Shomik Majumdar.

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