Phosphate is an inorganic salt of phosphoric acid usually derived by mining activity. Phosphates are used as fertilizers on a large scale. In addition, they are also used in animal nutrition, detergents and food and beverages among others. Monocalcium phosphates, dicalcium phosphates, and tricalcium phosphates are the three types of phosphates widely used as fertilizers and can be water soluble or insoluble. One of the key drivers of this market is increasing usage of phosphate based fertilizers in farming. Phosphates are irreplaceable in plant growth and nutrition, thus making it critical to the global food supply. Increasing growth in population which results in high demand for food in countries such as India, China, Mexico, and Indonesia, is leading to a growing market in these countries. Furthermore, changing household patterns in these countries has also resulted in an increased demand for detergents. After fertilizers, detergents are another market segment that uses a large amount of phosphates. This in turn drives the phosphate chemical reagent market in this region.
In developed countries such as the U.S. and Japan, phosphates have been banned by environmental agencies in the manufacture of detergents. Manufacturers are looking at eco-friendly substitutes for phosphates. Thus, the use of phosphates in this region is falling drastically, hampering the growth of the phosphate chemical market in these regions. Excessive use of phosphate based chemicals over a number of years, results in reducing the fertility of the soil which affects crop production. Moreover, phosphate reserves are limited and depleting. This has resulted in a price fluctuation of phosphates due to a shortage of supply.
Efforts should be made to increase awareness about the appropriate use of phosphates in farming in developing regions of Asia-Pacific and Africa which will retain the high plant productivity in these regions. In addition, government subsidies on the use of these chemicals as fertilizers will help in further boosting the market in these regions. Thus, there is a scope of increasing demand in developing regions of the world.
Some of the key manufacturers of phosphate chemical reagents include Agrium Inc., OCP Group, CF Industries Inc., Rhodia Novecare, Office Cherifien des Phosphates, ICL Group Ltd., PotashCorp, EuroChem Mineral and Chemical Company, the Mosaic Company, and PhosAgro Group among others.
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