There are less than 70 manufacturers in China that are producing soil conditioners in a real sense. As a sort of alternative to soil conditioners, the microbial fertilizer industry has developed rapidly over recent years. Microbial agents have a wide range of applications, which serves as fertilizer concurrently. Its use as fertilizer can improve soil condition, and recover soil fertility to enhance plant growth.
If used as pesticide, it inhibits pathogenic bacteria and specific insect pests. At present, the number of microbial fertilizer producers has been growing year by year; some larger fertilizer manufacturers have also stepped into the industry. However, production is still on a small scale, and no big inputs are really being made into soil conditioner production.
Up until July 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture had approved some 500 microbial agent registrations and over 470 temporary registrations. There are about 800 microbial fertilizer enterprises in China producing 9 million tons annually, with export of 200,000 to 3000,000 tons. The novel fertilizer output is currently 16 to 17 million tons in total, of which microbial fertilizer accounts for 56.4 percent, having been applied to almost all kinds of crops.
Meanwhile, according to China’s 2020 fertilizer and pesticide use zero growth plan, microbial agents are expected to become an urgently needed product, which implies great potential for development with broad future prospects.
Main problems existing in market promotion
At present, the assessment system for soil conditioner functions are not yet well established, which restrains the development of soil conditioners. Furthermore, the following issues need to be tackled:
a) Too many varieties and different qualities. Quite a lot of counterfeit and shoddy products exist in the market, making farmers lose confidence.
b) Low purchasing power of farmers. Nowadays, farmers have rather weak consciousness and lack of soil knowledge. Moreover, while prices of some soil conditioners are on a higher side, the absence of proper technical promotion and guidance has resulted in the unsatisfactory performance of soil conditioners, thus farmers are gradually losing confidence in these products.
c) Hype and propaganda. Manufacturers are not properly orientated; they are just rushing into the market with their product, which might not be really good for soil remediation, thus losing the trust of farmers.
d) Distributors’ hope for quick success. Soil conditioners take longer promotion efforts, and the results of promotion are not something immediately achievable. Distributors do not seem have a clear thinking about product nature and want to earn quick money from the expensive soil conditioner via marketing hype and exaggeration, which causes farmers to be misled and misunderstood on the performance of soil conditioners.
How are local enterprises promoting soil conditioner?
1. Mumeituli Group
Promotion Model: to move into the field and set up a demonstrative park.
The Mumeituli Group is engaged in research of world-class microbial technology and manufacturing of microbial products. The working team settled all year long in the crop field and set up demonstrative park for the promotion of experimental results, training of member farmers and provisioning targeted service. Seeing is believing. A visible effect is provided for farmers as guidance to solving the soil contamination problem across the Northeast, Southwest, North, and Northeast regions of China, as well as Xinjiang and Ningxia, bringing benefit to some 200,000 farmers. Through the technical marketing efforts, the work team has solved the problems of root rot, rotten disease; viral disease, nutrient deficiency symptom and the issue of re-plantation existing in apple, kiwi fruit, winter jujube and citrus have been solved.
2. Shanghai Seek Biotechnology
Promotion Model: to be focused on southern China, as based on program and technology.
Seeking biotechnology specializing in Biochar technology. Biochar conditioner is a high-end/mid-end environment-friendly product, which is promoted for applications mostly in economic crops, such as apple, grape and medicinal herbs in the Yun’nan Province. Increase in the yield relies on support from total solutions, where the use of bamboo carbon, water-soluble fertilizer of medium trace element and a few microbial agents will help achieve an above 10 percent increase.
At present, the company would work out a formula according to farmer’s crop varieties and economic input/output ratio. The product range includes a bamboo carbon soil conditioner, a bamboo carbon bio-organic fertilizer and a bamboo carbon biological bacterial fertilizer. It has been two years now since the start of promotion. There is faster acceptance by farmers in the northern Shandong Province than remote regions.
Promotion Model: To guide farmer’s sorted use, combining conditioning and curing.
Good Harvest began soil conditioner research in 2015, and entered the market in 2016. The product released by Good Harvest is featured for using pure natural ore, which is high-temperature, calcinated and mixed with various soil moisture preserving, nutrient slow-releasing and diversified bioactive substances, as well as nutrition carriers.
Furthermore, the product is added with special VBS Bacillus Subtilis and Special Jelly VBM Bacillus strain. On top of the improved soil physiochemical properties, biological conditioning of persistent effect is introduced, which simultaneously builds up a soil micro-environment, thus solving the soil problems and also eliminating the causes for the problems.
During the promotion, the company has paid special attention to a combination of conditioning and curing. Guidance is given to farmers to use in proper proportion the Liruite M6, which is a predominating VSF biological control agent for the prevention of soil-borne disease and for the enhancement of soil immunity against soil-borne diseases; guidance is also given to farmers as to how to select land improving and chelating nutritional fertilizers for top dressing.
4. Hainan Bosswell
Promotion Model: to implement the three-defense lines and total solution.
The crop immune system of Bosswell is concentrated on the improvement in crop quality and performance for the immune competence of crops. The objective is to provide crops with a good living environment and “fine seed and fine planting” to reach quality crops.
At present, Bosswell has started to work out total solutions for a large variety of crops. Taking potato as an example, the utilization of its three-defense lines theory has achieved prominent effect, by which the planted potato has achieved very good quality without broken skin, thus enabling a much higher commodity rate.
In 2016, Bosswell held more than 300 various promotion activities, such as demonstrations, farmer gatherings, order placing, dealer and retailer conferences. This year, Bosswell is prepared to strengthen cooperation with distributors for providing its land health techniques to enable farmers to achieve an increase in both yield and income.
5. Dengfeng Xinxin Nongke
Promotion Model: to focus on market and on crops.
Dengfeng Xinxin Nongke has its own mineral resources, using the 1,3000C high-temperature calcinations technique to produce its Wotezhuang soil conditioner, based on the crude medical stone, potash feldspar and dolomite. The product contains 18 elements, including silicon, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and zinc, with total elements over 62 percent, which ensure the diversity and integrity of elements.
More importantly, the Wotezhuang soil conditioner is produced using the proven experimental results of China National Calcium Magnesium Phosphate Compound Fertilizer Research and Promotion Center. Also, the citric acid solubility of the Wotezhuang soil conditioner enables effective absorption of all elements to avoid a loss of nutrients, resulting in the utilization rate of as high as 98 percent.
From 2010 till present, Dengfeng Xinxin Nongke has been constantly upgrading its sales program, focusing on the market in Shandong, Hebei, Hunan and Guangxi, as well as focusing on crops starting with economic crops up to the surrounding field crop areas. The company has adhered to its marketing philosophy of “to explore market with service, capture market with technology and expand market with effect.”
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