The alfalfa market is expected to grow at a significant pace from 2016 to 2024 owing to the global rising awareness of its health benefits. Alfalfa or Lucerne is a highly nutritious plant with a strong root system which enables it to absorb more nutrients from the soil. Alfalfa plants contain vitamins such as A, B1, B6, C, E, and K. It also contains minerals such as strontium, manganese, chlorine, calcium, boron, nickel, and sodium. Therefore, it is expected to find increased usage in medicines globally.
Alfalfa tablets are used for curing arthritis, strokes, rising cholesterol levels, kidney problems, whooping cough. Also, alfalfa grass is used as a medicinal tea. The juice of alfalfa is used to treat hair problems. Due to ease of usage as home remedies, the demand is expected to grow globally over the forecast period.
Alfalfa is also used as a forage food due to its high nutrition value. In the regions like Asia Pacific where the pastures are scarce, demand for alfalfa as a forage crop is expected to rise. Due to rising population, global demand for dairy products has increased in the recent past and is expected to follow the current trend over the next eight years. More resources are being invested in protein-rich alfalfa based diets for increased dairy production.
The global meat market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. Preference for alfalfa hay has increased as farmers are more concerned about the nutrition value of animal feed. Owing to the shortage of nutritious fodder coupled with high quality and digestibility is expected to increase the demand for alfalfa over the forecast period.
The global demand for wool is growing due to its wide range of uses in clothing, upholstery, horse rugs, wool insulation, carpeting, blankets and felt. The use of alfalfa hay has benefitted the farmers in terms of wool quality because of its nutritious value and hence is expected to fuel the overall demand.
Alfalfa crop is grown around the globe as it can sustain varying conditions. Increasing arable land for alfalfa owing to its sustainable nature to extreme weather condition and easy storage is expected to benefit the overall production capacity. With increasing production and growing demand, the product prices are anticipated to go down over the next eight years.
Developed regions such as the U.S., Europe have enacted laws to reduce the environment footprint. These regions are encouraging the usage of biofuels to curb the pollution caused by conventional fossil fuels. This factor is going to benefit the market as alfalfa is highly used in producing biofuels.
Asian countries like China and India have a traditional medicine system which has higher penetration. These traditional medicines have been using alfalfa to cure various ailments. People in these countries have shifted to traditional medicines due to their effectiveness, ease of usage and affordability. These factors have contributed to a rise in demand for alfalfa.
Alfalfa is primarily grown in the regions of North America, South America, Europe, and in some parts of Asia. The U.S is a major producer for Alfalfa Crops. The states of California, Idaho, Montana, South and North Dakota are the leading alfalfa-producing states. The U.S. exports alfalfa to countries like India, China. As the global demand increases, the U.S. is bound to witness a rise in alfalfa production. Countries like Japan, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and Korea are the major importers from the U.S. with Japan contributing substantially.
In the Asia Pacific region, countries like India and China, alfalfa cultivation has increased in the recent past. Local farmers have shifted to alfalfa cultivation due to the rising demand. In India alfalfa is mostly grown in the north states. Alfalfa production in China increased as large scale plantations were set up in various Chinese provinces. Also, the government took concentrated efforts to narrow the technological gap in cultivation.
Lack of technological innovations, frequent draughts, rising cost & limited area of cultivation has forced the developing countries of Asian region like India and China dependent on imports. Also, the requirement of alfalfa in the dairy industry, the meat industry has rendered the market irreversible.
Research Support Specialist, USA