By Vitor Hugo Leite
The agrochemical market for Brazil's sugarcane sector is witnessing significant growth.
Herbicides alone account for 55% of the industry's performance, leaping by 40% to reach $921 million in 2022, compared to $656 million in 2021. Meanwhile, insecticides, responsible for 37% of the business, advanced by 23% - from $497 million to $613 million. Sugarcane is the third biggest crop for the agrochemical industry in Brazil, behind soy and corn.
Our findings come from a number of in-depth interviews with 500 sugar mill producers and raw material suppliers across 243 cities in Brazil, conducted between October 2022 and January 2023. The findings provide crucial insights into the state of the market and the forces driving its growth.
The increase in biologicals
One of the key findings was an observation in the rise of use of biological products, and the near-doubling of the area treated by agrochemical inputs, increasing from 12.6 million hectares in 2015 to 23.4 million hectares in 2022 (in this case, exclusively for insecticides). The trend highlights the growing importance of sustainable practices in the sector, and the evolving strategies of growers to cope with pest challenges.
Another compelling data point to emerge was the 36% increase in demand for insecticides in 2022 due to leafhoppers, with transactions in this sub-segment growing from $168 million to $228 million, further underscoring the escalating importance of pest management in the agrochemical market.
The FarmTrak Sugarcane survey also found that the area planted with grass remained in the range of 9.2 million hectares.