Biobased Crop Protection is an innovative approach to safeguarding crops from pests, diseases, and weeds. It involves the use of products derived from living organisms, which can be an excellent complement to traditional chemical-based methods.

Biobased Crop Protection not only contributes to sustainable agriculture but also helps mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. It represents a significant shift towards more sustainable and responsible farming practices, contributing to the health of both the environment and consumers.

Market Potential of Biobased Crop Protection in India

Current Market

  • Market Size and Growth: The India Biopesticides Market is valued at approximately USD 217.97 million in 2024 and is expected to shoot up to USD 347.53 million by 2029, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.78% 
  • Limited Market Share: While the market is on the expansion, bio-based products still hold a relatively minor stake compared to conventional pesticides. However, the increasing awareness of their benefits is expected to shift consumer preferences shortly.

Future Potential

  • Market Expansion
    • Growing awareness about the harmful effects of synthetic pesticides.
    • Increasing demand for organic food.
    • Regulatory restrictions on certain synthetic pesticides.
    • Government support for bio-based solutions. The biobased crop protection market is estimated to experience significant growth, potentially exceeding a CAGR of 10% in the coming years.
  • Product Innovation: Constant research and development are leading to the creation of novel and more effective bio-based products with improved efficacy and broader target spectrums. This will make them even more competitive with conventional options.
  • Export Potential: India has the potential to become a major exporter of bio-based crop protection products due to several factors:
    • Vast agricultural base, leading to a strong domestic market for product development and testing.
    • Skilled workforce with expertise in microbiology, biotechnology, and agriculture.
    • Competitive production costs compared to developed economies.

Types of Biobased Crop Protection in India

Microbial BiopesticidesUtilize beneficial microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes) to kill or weaken pests and pathogens.– Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – targets specific insects
– Trichoderma fungi – controls fungal diseases
– Target-specific, less harm to beneficial insects and the environment
– Decomposes quickly in soil, leaves no harmful residues
Plant-derived PesticidesExtracted from plant parts (leaves, seeds, flowers) with natural pest-repellent or insecticidal properties.– Neem oil – effective against various insects and pests
– Pyrethrum (from chrysanthemum flowers) has insecticidal properties
– Generally safer for human health and the environment
– Some can have fungicidal and/or herbicidal properties
Botanical BiofumigantsNatural products derived from plants that release volatile compounds to suffocate or repel pests in stored grains or products.– Neem cake
– Garlic powder
– Diatomaceous earth
– Non-toxic alternative for controlling pests in stored products
– Effective in enclosed spaces
Biocontrol AgentsInsects, mites, or other organisms that are natural predators or parasites of crop pests.– Ladybugs (predators of aphids)
– Parasitic wasps (control caterpillar populations)
– Long-term, sustainable pest control
– Establishes natural predator-prey balance
Bio-stimulants and ElicitorsNot directly pesticidal but, enhance plant health and resistance to pests and diseases.– Seaweed extracts
– Humic substances
– Certain microbial formulations
– Promotes overall plant health
– Triggers the plant’s defense mechanisms to fight off pathogens and pests

Key Players in the Biobased Crop Protection Sector

Bio-pesticide ProducersDevelop, manufacture, and market bio-based pest control products.– Biostadt India Ltd.
– Bayer CropScience Ltd. (bio-pesticide range)
– Tata Chemicals Ltd. (bio-agri solutions)
– Margo Bio Ltd.
– Coromandel International Ltd
Raw Material SuppliersProvide raw materials for bio-pesticide production (microorganisms, plant extracts, minerals).– Microbial culture collections
– Arya Vaidyanatha Pharmacy (plant extracts)
– Biostadt India Ltd. (microbial cultures)
– Deepak Nitrite Ltd. (natural minerals)
– Godrej Industries Ltd. (natural extracts division)
Bio-pesticide ManufacturersManufacture bio-pesticides based on formulations or technologies from producers.– BioNeem Products Ltd.
– Sharda Cropchem Ltd. (bio-pesticide manufacturing arm)
– Vesuvius Engines Pvt. Ltd. (bio-pesticide division)
– Excel Crop Care Ltd. (bio-pesticide manufacturing)
– Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd. (bio-control agents)
Technology Solution ProvidersDevelop innovative technologies for bio-based crop protection.– BioBridge Agrisolutions Pvt. Ltd. (bio-control agents and technologies)
– Next Generation Farming Pvt. Ltd. (precision bio-control solutions)
– Plantish Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (AI-powered solutions for sustainable agriculture)
– Biosense Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (microbial strain development)
– IGreenAgri Services Pvt. Ltd. (precision agriculture and bio-control solutions)
Government Agencies & Research InstitutionsFund research set regulations, and provide technical assistance.– Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
– Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR)
– Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)
– National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM)
– University of Agricultural Sciences
Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)Aggregate demand, negotiate bulk purchases, and provide training on bio-pesticides.– Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) – bio-pesticide division
– National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED)
-Maharashtra State Federation of Agricultural Marketing Societies (MARKFED)
– Karnataka Biopesticides Producer Company Limited (KBPCL)
– Paddy Farmers Producer Company (PFPC)
E-commerce PlatformsOffer bio-based pest control products online.– Bigbasket (organic and bio-based crop protection products)
– Krishi Junction (online platform for agricultural supplies)
– Ninjacart (connects farmers with agri-input suppliers)
– AgroStar (online marketplace for agricultural needs)
– Gramophone (business-to-business platform for agricultural products)

Production Processes in Biobased Crop Protection

The production processes for biobased crop protection products in India vary depending on the specific type of product being manufactured. Here’s a breakdown of some common methods.

1. Microbial Biopesticides

  • Process
    • Isolation and Selection: Target microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, or nematodes) are isolated from natural sources like soil or insect cadavers. They are then screened for their pest control potential in laboratory settings.
    • Large-Scale Cultivation: Selected microorganisms are multiplied in large fermentation tanks under controlled conditions to ensure purity and viability.
    • Formulation: The cultured microorganisms are formulated into a stable and user-friendly product. This may involve adding carriers, stabilizers, and other ingredients to enhance shelf life, ease of application, and effectiveness. Common formulations include wettable powders, liquid suspensions, and granules.
    • Quality Control: Stringent quality control checks are performed throughout the production process to ensure product consistency, potency, and absence of contaminants.

2. Plant-derived Pesticides

  • Process
    • Raw Material Sourcing: Plant parts like leaves, seeds, or flowers are collected from cultivated crops or wild plants. Sustainable harvesting practices are often emphasized.
    • Extraction: The desired bioactive compounds are extracted from the plant material using various methods like solvent extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, or steam distillation.
    • Concentration and Purification: The extracted material may be further concentrated and purified to isolate the active ingredients responsible for pest control properties.
    • Formulation: Plant extracts are formulated into user-friendly products like liquid concentrates, emulsifiable concentrates, or water-dispersible granules.

3. Botanical Biofumigants

  • Process
    • Raw Material Acquisition: Plant materials with pesticidal properties, such as neem seeds, garlic cloves, or diatomaceous earth, are sourced from reliable suppliers.
    • Processing and Grinding: The raw materials may be dried, crushed, or ground into a powder form for optimal efficacy as fumigants.
    • Packaging: Biofumigants are usually packaged in airtight containers to preserve their potency and prevent degradation during storage and transportation.

4. Biocontrol Agents

  • Process
    • Mass Rearing: Beneficial insects, mites, or other organisms used for biocontrol are reared in controlled environments to ensure a steady supply. This may involve providing them with a suitable host or food source for reproduction.
    • Quality Control: Biocontrol agents undergo quality checks to ensure they are free of diseases or parasites that could harm crops.
    • Shipping: Biocontrol agents are carefully and safely shipped to farmers, often using temperature-controlled containers or specialized carriers.

Feedstocks and Necessities for Biobased Crop Protection in India

FeedstocksMicrobial Cultures– Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strains isolated from local insects (Pan-India)
– Trichoderma fungi strain from agricultural soils (North & Central India)
– Commercially available cultures from companies like Biostadt India Ltd. (Pan-India)
Plant Material– Neem leaves from cultivated plantations (South & West India)
– Derris root from North-Eastern states
– Garlic cloves from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat specific plant species and their cultivation zones
Natural Minerals– Diatomaceous earth deposits in Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir
NecessitiesProduction Infrastructure– Fermentation tanks in dedicated bio-pesticide manufacturing facilities (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh)
– Extraction equipment in processing units for plant-derived pesticides (depending on extraction method)
Technology and Expertise– Expertise in microbial fermentation at research institutions like IARI, Pune (Maharashtra)
– Plant science knowledge at universities with agriculture programs (Pan-India)
– Formulation science expertise in companies like Bayer CropScience (multiple locations)
Regulatory Compliance– Following guidelines set by Central Insecticide Board & Registration Committee (CIBRC) (Pan-India)
– This applies to all bio-pesticide producers across India
Research and Development– Investment in R&D facilities by companies like BioBridge Agrisolutions (Karnataka) or academic institutions like ICAR (Pan-India)
– Research institutions and companies with active R&D programs in bio-control technologies
Skilled Workforce– Microbiology graduates from universities like the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (Karnataka)
– Biotechnology professionals from institutes like IIT Delhi
– Educational institutions offering relevant programs and regions with skilled workforce availability
Farmer Education and Awareness– Training programs by government agencies (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) or NGOs (various locations)
– Extension services provided by FPOs like Karnataka Milk Federation (Karnataka)

Under-research and Emerging Technologies in Biobased Crop Protection

TechnologyDescriptionPotential BenefitsChallenges and Considerations
Advanced Delivery Systems– Nanoencapsulation: Improves targeted delivery, controlled release, and UV protection of bio-pesticides.
– Drone Application: Enables precise application, minimizing wastage and maximizing coverage.
– Enhanced efficacy of bio-pesticides
– Reduced environmental impact
– Improved efficiency of pest control
– Requires further research on optimal nanoparticle design and application methods.
– Regulatory considerations for drone use in agriculture.
Next-Generation Biocontrol Agents– Genetically Modified Microorganisms: Enhanced pest control abilities or broader target spectrum.
– Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPNs): Improved strains with higher efficiency and adaptability.
– More potent and versatile biocontrol agents
– Reduced reliance on chemical pesticides
– Increased effectiveness against a wider range of pests
– Strict regulations and ethical concerns regarding GMOs.
– Need for research on safe and effective EPN strains for Indian agricultural conditions.
AI-powered Solutions– Smart Traps and Sensors: Trigger targeted bio-pesticide releases based on real-time pest detection.
– Precision Agriculture Platforms: Tailored pest control strategies based on field conditions and pest populations.
– Optimized resource utilization
– Improved decision-making for pest management
– Increased efficiency and sustainability
– Development of robust and affordable AI solutions for farmers.
– Integration with existing farm management practices.
Bio-herbicides– Natural sources like plant extracts or allelopathic compounds for targeted weed control.
– Harnessing the competitive and inhibitory properties of certain plants.
– Reduced reliance on synthetic herbicides
– Eco-friendly weed management solutions
– Improved crop yields and soil health
– Identifying effective bio-herbicides with broad-spectrum weed control.
-Research on optimizing application methods and overcoming potential limitations.
Biopesticides from EndophytesExploring microorganisms living within plant tissues for pesticidal properties.– Development of novel bio-pesticides with unique modes of action.
– Potential for broad-spectrum pest control.
– Environmentally friendly approach
– Requires extensive research to identify and characterize endophytes with pesticidal activity.
– Addressing challenges of large-scale production and formulation of endophyte-based bio-pesticides.

Top States in India for Biobased Crop Protection

Karnataka– Strong agricultural base with diverse crops (paddy, sugarcane, pulses, etc.)
– Presence of research institutions (UAS Bangalore) and bio-pesticide companies (Biostadt India)
– Government initiatives promoting organic farming and bio-pesticides
– Progressive farmers are open to adopting new technologies.
Maharashtra– Major agricultural producer (cotton, fruits, vegetables)
– The established industrial base for production facilities
– Availability of skilled workforce in agriculture and biotechnology
– Growing demand for sustainable agricultural practices.
Andhra Pradesh– Large area under agriculture (paddy, cotton, pulses)
– Government focus on promoting bio-pesticides
– The presence of agricultural universities and research centers
– Favorable climatic conditions for bio-pesticide production.
Tamil Nadu– Leading producer of rice, pulses, and horticultural crops
– Well-developed agricultural infrastructure and extension services
– Increasing awareness among farmers about bio-pesticides
– Presence of agri-business companies and FPOs supporting bio-control solutions
Gujarat– Significant cotton cultivation area
– Presence of established chemical pesticide industry (potential shift to bio-pesticides)
– Government programs for promoting sustainable agriculture
– Availability of resources and infrastructure for bio-pesticide production.

End-Use Applications of Biobased Crop Protection in India

Target OrganismBio-pesticide Examples Applications (India)
Insect PestsBacillus thuringiensis (Bt) formulations
– Neem-based insecticides
– Entomopathogenic fungi (Beauveria bassiana)
– Control of lepidopteran pests like armyworms, bollworms, and borers in cotton, pulses, and vegetables.
– Management of sucking pests like aphids and whiteflies in vegetables and fruit crops.
– Use against locust infestations in desert regions.
DiseasesTrichoderma harzianum formulations
– Pseudomonas fluorescens bio-control agents
– Plant extracts with antifungal properties (garlic, neem)
– Management of fungal diseases like powdery mildew and rust in grapes, chilies, and other crops.
– Control of bacterial wilt affecting tomato, brinjal, and other solanaceous vegetables.
– Use against fungal diseases in post-harvest storage of fruits and vegetables.
Weeds– Bio-herbicides derived from clove oil or lemongrass extracts (under development)
– Competitive cover crops that suppress weed growth
– Targeted control of weeds in organic farming systems (ongoing research).
– Use of cover crops like dhaincha or sunn hemp to manage weeds in rice and other crops.
Nematodes– Entomopathogenic nematodes (Steinernema or Heterorhabditis species)– Targeted application for controlling root-knot nematodes in vegetables, potatoes, and other crops.
Storage Protection– Diatomaceous earth formulations
Beauveria bassiana for grain storage protection (under development)
– Management of insect pests like weevils and moths in stored grains and pulses.
– Research on using bio-pesticides for eco-friendly storage protection.

Key challenges

1. Awareness and Adoption Gap

  • Limited Awareness among Farmers: Many farmers are still unfamiliar with bio-pesticides, their benefits, and application methods. Traditional reliance on chemical pesticides persists.
  • Efficacy Concerns: There is a common misconception that bio-pesticides are less effective than chemical options, requiring a shift in mindset and education on their long-term benefits.

2. Regulatory and Policy Hurdles

  • Complex Registration Process: Obtaining registration for bio-pesticides from the Central Insecticide Board & Registration Committee (CIBRC) can be lengthy and expensive, hindering market entry for new products.
  • Lack of Uniform Standards: Standardization of quality control measures and efficacy testing protocols for bio-pesticides needs improvement.

3. Market and Economic Factors

  • Price Competitiveness: Bio-pesticides can sometimes be more expensive than conventional chemical options, especially for small and marginal farmers.
  • Limited Availability and Distribution Channels: Well-established distribution networks for chemical pesticides may not readily stock bio-pesticides, making them less accessible to farmers.

4. Technological and Research Constraints

  • Limited Research Funding: Investment in research and development of novel bio-pesticides and advanced delivery systems needs to be increased.
  • Need for Localized Solutions: Developing bio-pesticides effective against regional pest problems and climatic conditions requires focused research efforts.

5. Other Challenges

  • Storage and Shelf Life: Some bio-pesticides may have shorter shelf lives or require specific storage conditions compared to chemical alternatives.
  • Lack of Skilled Workforce: A skilled workforce with expertise in bio-pesticide production, application, and extension services is needed for wider adoption.

Key opportunities

1. Growing Demand for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Increasing consumer awareness: Consumers are demanding safer food produced using eco-friendly practices, driving the market for organic and residue-free produce.
  • Government initiatives: Government programs promoting sustainable agriculture and organic farming practices create a favorable environment for bio-pesticides.

2. Rising Concerns about Chemical Pesticide Residues

  • Health and environmental hazards: Growing concerns about the negative impacts of chemical pesticides on human health and the environment are prompting farmers to explore safer alternatives.
  • Stricter regulations: Increasingly stringent regulations on the use of chemical pesticides may open doors for bio-pesticides.

3. Untapped Market Potential

  • Large and Diverse Agricultural Base: India’s vast agricultural sector offers a significant market for bio-pesticides catering to a wide range of crops and pest problems.
  • Scope for Regional Solutions: Developing bio-pesticides tailored to address regional pest issues and climatic conditions can cater to the specific needs of farmers across diverse agricultural zones.

4. Technological Advancements

  • Advanced Delivery Systems: Research on nanoencapsulation, drone application, and smart delivery systems can improve the efficacy and reach of bio-pesticides.
  • Next-Generation Biocontrol Agents: Development of genetically modified microorganisms, improved strains of entomopathogenic nematodes, and exploration of bio-herbicides offer promising opportunities.
  • AI-powered Solutions: Integrating AI with bio-pesticides through smart traps, sensors, and precision agriculture platforms can optimize pest control strategies.

5. Collaboration and Capacity Building

  • Public-private partnerships: Collaboration between government agencies, research institutions, and private companies can accelerate research, development, and commercialization of bio-pesticides.
  • Farmer education and training: Investing in educating farmers about the benefits and application methods of bio-pesticides is crucial for wider adoption.
  • Building a skilled workforce: Developing a skilled workforce with expertise in bio-pesticide production, application, and extension services is essential for long-term success.

Business Models in the Biobased Crop Protection Sector 

Business ModelDescriptionExamples
Bio-pesticide Production & Manufacturing– Develop & manufacture proprietary bio-pesticides.
– Contract manufacturing for other brands.
– Develop & market microbial bio-pesticides (Biostadt India Ltd.)
– Contract manufacture bio-pesticides for private labels (Sharda Cropchem Ltd.)
Bio-pesticide Distribution & Retail– Establish distribution channels for bio-pesticides.
– Utilize e-commerce platforms for online sales.
– Leverage Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) for distribution.
– Distribution networks of large agri-input companies (e.g., Godrej Agrovet)
– Online marketplaces like Bigbasket or Krishi Junction
– FPOs like Karnataka Milk Federation aggregating demand from members
Technology & Service Providers– Develop & produce beneficial biocontrol agents.
– Offer advanced delivery system solutions (nanoencapsulation, drones).
– Provide AI-powered solutions for pest management.
– Develop & produce microbial biocontrol agents (BioBridge Agrisolutions)
– Offer nanoencapsulation technology for bio-pesticides (startup companies)
– Develop AI platforms for smart pest detection (Plantish Technologies)
Consulting & Training Services– Train farmers on proper bio-pesticide application.
– Provide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) consulting services.
– Training programs on bio-pesticide use by companies like Bayer CropScience
– IPM consultancy services offered by agricultural research institutions (e.g., ICAR)
Hybrid Models– Combine elements from various models for a comprehensive approach.– The company manufactures bio-pesticides, partners with FPOs for distribution, and offers farmer training programs.
– The company develops biocontrol agents, collaborates with AI firms for smart delivery solutions, and provides IPM consulting services.

Strategic Initiatives by Indian Industries in Biobased Crop Protection

The Indian biobased crop protection sector is witnessing a surge in strategic initiatives by industries. Here’s a breakdown of some key areas of focus.

1. Research & Development (R&D)

  • Increased Investment: Leading companies are investing in R&D to develop novel bio-pesticides with improved efficacy, broader target spectrums, and longer shelf life. (e.g., Biostadt India Ltd., Tata Chemicals Ltd.)
  • Focus on Indigenous Solutions: Companies are focusing on research on bio-pesticides derived from local strains of microorganisms or plant extracts suitable for Indian agricultural conditions. (e.g., Research on neem-based formulations or biocontrol agents from native soil isolates)
  • Collaboration with Research Institutions: Partnerships are being formed between companies and research institutions like IARI, PUSA, or universities with strong agricultural science programs to leverage expertise and accelerate innovation.

2. Production Capacity Expansion

  • Setting Up New Manufacturing Facilities: Companies are expanding their production capacities to meet the growing demand for bio-pesticides. (e.g., Expansion plans by companies like Margod Bio Ltd. or Sharda Cropchem Ltd.)
  • Focus on Sustainable Practices: New manufacturing facilities are incorporating sustainable practices like energy efficiency and waste reduction.
  • Adoption of Advanced Technologies: Companies are exploring advanced technologies like fermentation processes or extraction methods to optimize bio-pesticide production.

3. Market Access and Distribution

  • Building Distribution Networks: Companies are establishing robust distribution networks to reach farmers across different regions of the country. (e.g., Partnerships with established agri-input distributors or FPOs)
  • E-commerce Platforms: Companies are leveraging online marketplaces like Bigbasket or Ninjacart to reach a wider audience of farmers and offer convenient purchase options.
  • Farmer Education and Training: Industry players are investing in educating farmers about the benefits and application methods of bio-pesticides through training programs and field demonstrations.

4. Partnerships and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As)

  • Strategic Alliances: Companies are forming partnerships with other industry players, research institutions, or international companies to access new technologies, expertise, or market reach. (e.g., Collaboration between Indian companies and global bio-pesticide leaders)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: M&As are being explored to consolidate market share, acquire new technologies, or expand product portfolios.

5. Regulatory Advocacy

  • Collaboration with Regulatory Bodies: Companies are working with regulatory bodies like CIBRC to streamline the registration process for bio-pesticides and encourage innovation in the sector.
  • Standardization Initiatives: Industry bodies are collaborating with government agencies to develop and implement standardized protocols for quality control and efficacy testing of biopesticides.

Examples of Specific Initiatives

  • Margo Bio Ltd: Investing in R&D for novel bio-fungicides and expanding production capacity.
  • Biostadt India Ltd: Collaborating with IARI for research on microbial bio-pesticides and establishing partnerships with FPOs for distribution.
  • Tata Chemicals Ltd: Developing bio-based crop protection solutions through its subsidiary Rallis India and focusing on farmer education initiatives.
  • Several Indian companies: Exploring partnerships with international bio-pesticide players like Bayer CropScience or BASF for knowledge transfer and technology access.


The burgeoning field of Biobased Crop Protection in India presents a promising avenue for sustainable agricultural practices, addressing both the pressing concerns of environmental impact and the health hazards associated with synthetic pesticides. The market for bio-pesticides is growing rapidly, driven by increasing awareness among farmers and consumers, government support, and advancements in research and technology. Key players in the sector, including prominent companies and research institutions, are actively investing in R&D, expanding production capacities, and forming strategic partnerships to enhance the efficacy and availability of biopesticides. The shift towards bio-based solutions not only supports eco-friendly farming but also aligns with the global movement towards more responsible and sustainable agricultural practices.

Despite the challenges such as limited awareness, regulatory hurdles, and the need for technological advancements, the opportunities for growth and innovation in the biobased crop protection sector are immense. The ongoing initiatives in market expansion, product innovation, and technological integration, coupled with supportive government policies and increasing consumer demand for organic produce, are set to propel this sector forward. By addressing these challenges through targeted research, education, and strategic collaborations, India is well-positioned to become a significant player in the global biopesticides market, contributing to both agricultural sustainability and economic growth.

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