Agrochemical or agrichemical, a contraction of agricultural chemical, is a generic term for the various chemical products used in agriculture. In most cases, agrichemical refers to the broad range of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and nematicides. It may also include synthetic fertilizers, hormones and other chemical growth agents, and concentrated stores of raw animal manure.
Many agrichemicals are toxic, and agrichemicals in bulk storage may pose significant environmental and/or health risks, particularly in the event of accidental spills. In many countries, use of agrichemicals is highly regulated. Government-issued permits for purchase and use of approved agrichemicals may be required. Significant penalties can result from misuse, including improper storage resulting in spillage. On farms, proper storage facilities and labeling, emergency clean-up equipment and procedures, and safety equipment and procedures for handling, application and disposal are often subject to mandatory standards and regulations. Usually, the regulations are carried out through the registration process.
For instance, bovine somatotropin, though widely used in the U.S.A., is not approved in Canada and some other jurisdictions as there are concerns for the health of cows using it.
Syngenta was the worldwide leader in agrochemical sales in 2013 at ~$10.9 billion, followed by Bayer CropScience, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, Monsanto, and then DuPont with ~$3.6 billion.