Biostimulants in Agriculture: Challenges, Function and Efficacy
In recent years, the use of biostimulants in agriculture has gained increased attention. It has emerged as one of the best methods to promote sustainable production of food by influencing nutrient uptake, plant metabolism and growth. As the agricultural sector faces a wide range of challenges today, find out how biostimulants function and their efficacy to overcome them.
Challenges in Agriculture Today
1. Increasing Population
According to the recent projections from the United Nations, the world population is set to reach 9.73 billion by 2050. Consequently, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that agriculture sector would need to produce approximately 50% more food than it did in 2012. Additionally, some regions like South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa require the agricultural output to be more than double and the rest of the world one-third of the current levels to meet the food demand. Therefore, there is an urgent need for sustainable practices that boosts agricultural productivity.
2. Fertilizers and Pesticides
At first, boosting agricultural output today may not seem to be challenging. Because historically, between the years 1961 and 2011, agricultural productivity more than tripled due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides. However, the extensive use of chemicals has led to a reduction in soil quality, (water, soil and land) environmental pollution and health hazards to humans. The use of current practices such as nitrogen-rich fertilizer are capable to pollute even the groundwater.
3. Rapid Urbanization
Today, more than half of the global population is urban. It is predicted that two-thirds of the people will be living in urban areas by 2050. Rapid urbanization affects the global food consumption patterns. A higher-income leads to more demand for food and nutrition. This shift in consumption pattern also puts pressure on the agricultural system.
4. Depleting Resources
The exploitation of resources has led to land degradation, deforestation and water scarcity problems, plaguing many regions across the world. According to estimates, 33% of the farmlands are moderately or highly degraded in the world. The additional land is found to be unsuitable for agriculture. Thus, depleting resources will certainly impact the food security goals if necessary measures are not taken today.
5. Climate Change
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), levels of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are at an unprecedented levels. Agriculture and its negative effects on the land are seen as the source of emissions. On the other hand, climate change issues such as droughts, floods, high temperatures, humidity levels can drastically affect the crop yield in different regions of the world.
6. Pests and Diseases
The outbreak of pests and diseases is considered one of the major threats to food security. The trans boundary pests and diseases affect and damage crops and move rapidly to affect neighbouring regions and countries. It has a significant impact on the economic, environmental and social structure of any nation.
Biostimulants in Agriculture
Biostimulants in agriculture has been the focus of scientific interest for quite some time now. As the need for sustainable, eco-friendly and innovative agriculture solutions grows, more and more studies are being done on the efficacy of biostimulants.
What are Biostimulants?
Biostimulants can be defined as materials that constitute one or more substances and/or living microorganisms that are able to boost nutrient intake capability and use efficiency by plants. It is often applied in the form of soil preparations (powders, granules, or solutions added to the soil) or as a liquid foliar application.
Biostimulants in agriculture, when applied in small amounts, improve crop quality, plant tolerance to abiotic/biotic stress, enhances the performance of rhizosphere microbes, soil enzymes, increases hormone production and growth regulators in soil and plants. As a result of using the promising and environment-friendly innovation, you get better flowering, plant growth, fruit set, crop productivity and much more.
Some other features are discussed below.
Various studies have shown that the use of biostimulants in agriculture improves fruits and vegetables growth and size. It leads to an increase in root length, plant height, size, density and weight. It influences the physical characteristics of fruits and vegetables. For example, the firmness, shelf-life, mechanical strength, and growing condition under stress are greatly improved. Additionally, chemical properties such as dry mass, acidity or vitamin content are impacted too. Various research also points out that the use of biostimulants positively affects anti-oxidant properties as well.
Use of Biostimulants in Agriculture
The use of biostimulants in agriculture is a sustainable production system and practice that will help farmer communities, ecosystems and farms to increase the output. Furthermore, it will meet the food demands of the future by providing easily available, high-quality and affordable food for all.
Biostimulants in agriculture need to grow at a massive scale. It will help in limiting the dependence on mineral fertilizers and synthetic agro-chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. This will play a major role in reducing the environmental pollution. Moreover, it has a positive impact on the soil, land, animals and human population. It also assists in combating water stress and climatic factors and activates the plant’s natural defence mechanism, thus helping in minimizing the use of pesticides.
Organica Biotech is a leader in developing innovative, advanced and eco-friendly solutions for sustainable agriculture. After years of research, scientists and experts have utilized microbiome enhancement technologies involving nature and biotechnology to develop solutions that restore and nurture soil microbiology. The Magic Gro range of products consists of natural biostimulants that help plants to secure nutrients, boost crop productivity, fend of pests, helps plants in adverse climatic conditions and much more. Biostimulants in agriculture can help overcome major challenges existing in the agriculture sector and pave the way for sustainable agriculture.
The Use of Biostimulants for Enhancing Soil Nutrient Content