The Overview of China’s Biopesticide Market: Opportunities Are More than Challenges

Posted on 2018-05-07
Global Biopesticide Market
Global sales of biopesticides have exceeded $3 billion and currently account for only 5% of the entire plant protection market. However, the market for biopesticides grows at a rate of nearly 15 - 20% per year and is expected to reach $5 billion by 2020. Synthetic pesticides are increasingly being replaced by biopesticides. Biopesticides are estimated to occupy half of the pesticide market in around 2050.
Europe and North America are the main markets of biopesticides, which their market shares reach 36% and 35% respectively, followed by 16% in South America, 8% in Asia Pacific, and 5% in other regions. There is a huge market in the Asia-Pacific region that has yet to be developed. The growth rate of global biopesticides in the crop protection market is strongly driven by the development of the industry in this region.
The History of Biopesticide Application in China
• In 1960, biopesticides began to be produced in China and the applied arable land area exceeded 2 million hectares.
• In 1997, 30,000 tons of biopesticides were used in more than 10 million hectares farmland.
• In 2008, 327 kinds of biopesticides were registered and the application area of biopesticides accounted for 1.6% of the total cultivated land area.
• In 2017, biopesticides accounted for 8% of total pesticide use. In farmland using pesticides, more than 10% of the land area was occupied by biopesticides.
Development Status of China's Biopesticide Market
In 2016, the value of biopesticides in China was $220 million. It is estimated that by 2025, it will reach $1363 million, with a compound annual growth rate of 22.4%. The rising demand for safe and high-quality crops and the increasing emphasis on ecological protection have all contributed to the surge in sales of biopesticides in China. In addition, the registration of active ingredients of biopesticides in China has exceeded the EU. In upcoming 2018 China-overseas Biopesticide and Biostimulant Business Exchange Congress, experts from China’s Ministry of Agriculture will introduce the requirements for the registration of biopesticides in China, and share their experience on how to accelerate the registration procedure in China.
Policy Supports
Related favorable policies for biopesticides in China are as follows:
- On January 6, 2013, the State Council of China approved the issuance of "Several Policies for Accelerating the Development of the Biological Industry" to promote the development of high-quality plant immunity inducers, bio-bactericides, and bioinsecticides.
- On February 17, 2015, the China’s Ministry of Agriculture proposed a zero-growth action plan for the use of synthetic pesticides by 2020.
- In June 2017, the State Council of China promulgated the new "Pesticide Management Regulations."
- In December 2017, the China’s Ministry of Agriculture declared that the last 12 highly toxic pesticides would be banned in the next five years. Among them, endosulfan and methyl bromide would be completely banned in 2019. Aldicarb, phorate, and iridfos-methyl would be withdrawn in 2018. Ethoprophos, omethoate, methyl isoprene, and aluminum phosphide would be withdraw before 2020. Chloropicrin, carbofuran and methomyl would strive to withdraw before 2022.
A series of policies in China are promoting the rapid development of biopesticide. The relevant regulations such as production licenses for pesticides, traceability of QR codes, and business licenses have become increasingly stringent, making it more difficult for synthetic pesticides to obtain registration, forcing synthetic pesticide companies to shut down or update their technologies. More than 30% of synthetic pesticide production plants in the country will be shut down. In addition, the environmental production restriction policy has caused the price of synthetic pesticides to soar, and its relative price advantage of biopesticides is being weakened. The prohibition on the use of highly toxic pesticides also makes synthetic pesticides increasingly being replaced by biological pesticides.
Industry Challenges
Biopesticides can be divided into microorganisms and biologically-derived extracts. At present, the research of related technologies is still relatively limited in China. The problems of short shelf life, high cost and easy degradation of biopesticides need to be solved. Coupled with the non-standard production and use, the application effect of some products is unsatisfactory, making the use of domestic biopesticides lower than in Europe and the United States.
Many scientists have completed preliminary studies in this area. For example, in response to the rapid degradation of biological pesticides, some studies have shown that nanomedicines can increase the efficacy of biopesticides and reduce the losses caused by degradation (caused by volatilization, leaching, etc.). For example, nanoparticles can reduce the volatilization of neem oil and prolong the duration of drug action. Therefore, nanotechnology helps to strengthen the stability of biological pesticides, enhance efficacy, and facilitate the promotion of products. However, more field trials are needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology. Although more and more new technologies have emerged, the comprehensive system research results are still relatively few. The frequency of application of biological pesticides, storage stability, and economic benefits are still the main research areas of such pesticides.
Future Outlook
The speed of development of the biopesticides in the future will depend to a great extent on the research progress of product technology. This industry still faces some challenges in China. In the future, it is necessary to further reduce the cost of biopesticides so that more growers can afford quality plant protection products. At present, the development of biopesticide technology in China is not yet mature, and more research funds are needed to support it. Pesticide companies can strengthen cooperation with research institutions, and they can also cooperate with multinational corporations in R&D, or cooperate in the sales of quality products abroad.
In terms of application, biopesticides cannot completely replace synthetic pesticides, but the combined use of the two types of pesticides is an effective program for pest control. For crops such as fruits, tea, and vegetables, which require extremely severe pesticide residues, they will be the main target for biopesticides. In addition, after the products are sold to growers, the related training services should also be provided in order to ensure that the products can be used correctly and the efficacy of the products can be normalized.
Undoubtedly, the Chinese market for biopesticides will continue to develop rapidly. People’s increasing attention to food safety and environmental protection has contributed to the surge in sales of biological pesticides in China. The gradual withdrawal of toxic pesticides from the market will release sites for biopesticides. The new biopesticides laws and regulations and green channels will simplify the process of entering such products into the market and save registration costs. In addition to the favorable policies related to biopesticides, the transfer of land, the development of eco-agricultural demonstration areas, and the innovation of pest control technologies are all driving this industry forward.
It can be predicted that competition in this emerging industry will become increasingly fierce in the future. Whoever seizes the market first can benefit from it and contribute to the sustainable development of agriculture in China as soon as possible!

1. Future of biological products in China, 2018, Antares Wang (Asia commodities and shipping Ltd director)
2. Current Status and Recent Developments in Biopesticide Use, Jan. 2018, Christos A. Damalas, etc.
3. China Biopesticide Market Forecast 2017-2025, Inkwood Research