Keywords: Fertilisers, Added-value, Speciality, Slow-release, Organic
Speciality fertilisers depend on "added value" to command premium pricing over and above conventional fertilisers. In recent years, the strategic importance of speciality fertilisers has been highlighted as they – predominantly horticultural products – held their margins, whilst agricultural fertilisers have suffered severe margin erosion.
The options for adding value vary from quality (chemical and physical: also applicable to agricultural products) to slow-release of nutrients and organic origin – characteristics which generally can only be afforded by horticulture.
Slow-release (especially controlled-release) fertilisers have advanced considerably during the last twenty years and have increased in commercial importance and range of application. Environmental pressures and consumer demand are increasing the opportunities for organic nutrient sources and could pose a threat to conventional sources.
The industry has an opportunity to respond positively to these changes in the market place rather than to resist them or ignore them.
Dr Arnie Rainbow, Felixstowe, Suffolk, United Kingdom
31 pages, 9 tables, 9 figures, 14 refs.