The global limestone for agriculture market is fragmented in nature on account of the presence of numerous local and international players. Manufacturers keen on bolstering their position in the market are seen expanding their production capacity in highly populated fast-expanding economies of China and India, where demand is high and labor and land is cheap. Well-established companies are also taking the inorganic route of mergers and acquisitions to increase their geographical outreach.
Some of the key players in the global limestone market for agriculture are Nordkalk Corporation, Minerals Technologies Inc., Leiths (Scotland) Ltd., and Sibelco.
As per a report by Transparency Market Research, the global limestone market for agriculture will likely clock a CAGR of 6.1% during the period from 2017 to 2025. Rising at this pace, the market which was worth US$321.4 mn in 2016 is projected to become worth US$545.7 mn by 2025.
The two main types of products in the limestone for agriculture market are powdered and granular or palletized. The powdered limestone, currently holds a leading share in the market since it can be broken down easily by dint of being small and spread easily on the soil. This in turn helps to initiate the neutralization process faster. Further, its swift uptake is also a result of its relatively lesser market price.
Geographically, the key segments of the global market for limestone for agriculture are North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific, among them, dominates both in terms of revenue and growth rate on the back of large swaths of arable land and rising demand for food in the region. Clocking a maximum growth rate, the revenue in the market is expected to reach US$294.13 mn by 2025.
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Ability to Neutralize Acidity in Soil Drives their Demand
Limestone, a form of sedimentary rock, is made up of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams, and molluscs. They also are formed through evaporation. Some of the major materials found in them are calcite and aragonite, which are a variant crystal form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestone. Limestone, both powdered and granular, find application in construction, steel making, paper and pulp industry as well as agriculture.
In agriculture, limestone can be either directly applied on the soil surface or can be mixed along with fertilizers and sprayed evenly on the soil surface. It helps to neutralize excess acidity in soil, which may be caused by acid rain and thus make the condition favorable for the growth of crops or plants. “The neutralizing factor of limestone depends on the size and dimension of limestone used and the amount of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate in the limestone molecule,” adds the lead analyst of the report.