🌱🚜 Bioinputs: making agriculture more sustainable

Here, we often talk about the link between agriculture and climate change. It’s mostly then to focus on animal proteins. However, today, I’d like to go upstream and look at the inputs used for agriculture. Just consider that agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals, and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers account for 2.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This last figure is about equivalent to what the aviation industry emits. So, in a word, there is an urgent need for alternatives to reduce the amount of inputs required in agriculture. For clarity, we call this broad category of solutions bioinputs.

Entrepreneurs, investors, and large companies understand that well. In parallel with the global increase in energy costs, the β€œbioinputs” trend has risen. It is now at the top of the overall β€œresilient farm” megatrend (for more info on the other trends, here is the link to our 2024 trends report). Bioinputs match this trend really well as they make the farm more sustainable in the short term and also help it to be more resilient in the future (by being more adapted to the consequences of climate change).

Multiple categories of bioinputs

We can identify at two main categories of bioinputs:

1 – Alternatives to nitrogen-based fertilisers (itself produced from natural gas or coal), with again multiple categories of players, notably:

  • Biostimulants, such as Aphea.bio which uses bacteria to reduce the amount of nitrogen required.
  • Biofertilisers, such as Pivot Bio which uses microbes to naturally fix atmospheric nitrogen.

2 – Biopesticides are biological agents (notably microbes) used to used to control pest in order to repalce broad-spectrum chemical pesticides (example: BioConsortia which develops multiples products).


They bring multiple benefits:

  • Reduced environmental impact, notably in comparison with chemical inputs which can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
  • Improved soil health: biofertilizers and biostimulants enrich the soil with essential nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. This not only boosts crop yields but also enhances soil structure and fertility over the long term.

However, switching to bioinputs comes with its challenges:

  • Scale: most are still produced at small scale, or have not yet even been tested enough to be deployed. We observe increasing investments in startups and more engagement from agrifood leaders This should help help with this challenge.
  • Cost: linked to scale, most bioinputs are more expensive than existing solutions. Both rising energy cost and more demanding regulations help to create more interest for bioinputs.
  • Farmers awareness of the existence of bioinputs (and willingness to change their habits)
  • Efficiency limits: while chemical-based solutions can work on most types of conditions, bioinputs can have some limitations that will take time to be better understood.

While complex, the bioinputs ecosystem is one of the most active and exciting in AgriFoodTech, with relevant players all over the world. More interestingly even, it’s getting interest not only from upstream agrifood players, commodity traders, or seed manufacturers, but also from CPG and other downstream companies.

That’s something we are spending more and more time on with clients to help them understand the ecosystem of innovation, scout partners and identify the best path of action. Indeed, as they are getting more and more concerned by their scope 3 emissions (basically everything beyond manufacturing and transport, which in food mostly means agriculture inputs), they need to be able to present more sustainable solutions to the farmers they are partnering with.

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