Overview of Current Use of Microbial Pest Control Products 31 Global Microbial Pesticide Market

Reliable figures for the global use and markets for biopesticides are not available. At best, fragmented information is available. Information on sales in Europe and North America is probably the most reliable. Gelernter (2007) estimated these markets together to value $200 million in 2003, and sales in the rest of the world to be equivalent or more. Sales of biopesticides in South America and Asia are probably considerable, but figures are lacking. There are limited sales in Oceania, while estimates of sales in Africa are low. Industry organizations such as IBMA and BPIA do not collect market data. Only scattered information is available from some governmental authorities. The EU (Eurostat) tried to collect data on biological plant protection systems, but the survey did not deliver the required information. Companies did not want to share their information due to competition and confidentiality in a difficult market. Business consultants such as Frost and Sullivan (2001), Agrow (Evans 2004b), BCC Research (2006) and CPL (2006a) which work with direct industry surveys, probably gather the most reliable data.

In 2000, the world market for biopesticides neared $300 million, less than 1% of all pesticides. In this study on biopesticides, Frost and Sullivan (2001) included all non-synthetic chemical crop protection products such as microbial pesticides, beneficial arthropods, natural pesticides, and pheromones. Bt for caterpillar and mosquito control accounted for the majority of the microbial sales. Jarvis (2001) estimated the global biopesticide (true microbials) market at $160 million in 2000; over 90% were Bt sales. This meant about $16 million for microbials world-wide, excluding Bt sales. This estimate seemed lower than that of Frost and Sullivan (2001). Guillon (2004) reported a worldwide market for biopesticides (bacteria, fungi and viruses) of $235 million, with $31 million in Europe and $109 million in the NAFTA region. In a global market study on biopesticides, Thakore (2006) reported a turnover of biopesticides of $672 million in 2005. It is, however, not clear which product categories have been included in this figure. It seems to be a broad definition including natural enemies, but the table with formulation types is confusing since these refer to true microbials. According to the author, the share of biopesticides has risen from 0.2% in 2000 to 2.5% of the total pesticide market in 2006. This share is expected to increase to 4.3% in 2010, reaching greater than a billion dollar. Bt had a market share of 70% of the microbials; bacterial biopesticides represented 74% of all biopesticides, followed by 10% fungal biopesticides, 5% viral, 8% natural enemies, and 3% "others", including nematodes. Harwood et al. (2007) reported the global biopesticide (true microbials) market to be about $280 million in 2007. In the past, Bt dominated this market with a 90% share, but this has gone down to 60%. This is partly accounted for by the rise of transgenic Bt-crops, and partly because the use of other biopesticides has increased. Evans (2008) reported that annual sales of microbial pesticides are $750 million globally, amounting to 2.5% of the chemical market. The crop protection market is increasing considerably after years of declining sales. The total of pesticide sales in 2008 was over $40 billion with a growth rate of 21% (CPM 2009a).

Few of the authors that report data on the use of biopesticides clearly presented how they defined biopesticides. Nor is it indicated whether amounts mentioned refer to manufacturer level or end-user level, and this makes quite a difference. Generally, figures of end-use markets are provided. Obviously, there are no reliable data on the biopesticide markets. Nevertheless, trends can be observed and sales are steadily increasing from about $150 million in 2000 to more than $500 million in 2008 (Table 7.3).

Table 7.3 Overview of reported worldwide sales per annum of biopesticides

Year of sales

Sales (in million $)

Definition of biopesticides


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