Molepse BioResources

Molepse BioResources

Pioneering novel organic pesticides for grain farmers

Molepse BioResources

The Kenyan start-up Molepse BioResources has developed two products, one for small scale and one for large scale grain farmers, to protect their harvest from weevil attacks. Based on innovative nanotechnology, the products are ecologically friendly, natural, affordable and safe for human consumption, contributing to sustainable food production and minimizing hunger. For these reasons, Molepse BioResources won the ISC3 Best Regional Impact Award 2023 and has been chosen as the ISC3 Start-up of the Month for January 2024.

Year of Foundation:


Addresses the following SDGs:

SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production)


Beige round box of Molepse's multi-target pesticide on the ground with plants.
Molepse's multi-target pesticide.
white bottle of Molepse's grain storage protection product
Molepse's grain storage protection product.

Combining the wisdom of elders with modern technology

Molepse´s BioResources products are a result of the academical research of Donatus Njoroge conducted as part of his agrochemical project for his master’s thesis. After a bachelor in industrial chemistry and a masters in analytical chemistry, Donatus spent some time at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology. However, his interest in agriculture dates back to his childhood experiences, which influenced the product development. Donatus grew up in an agricultural setting in central Kenya, where his parents, who were grain farmers, relied heavily on the profits from selling harvested grains to pay school fees and feed the family. The harvest's safety and a successful yield were critical. When the harvest was ruined by insects, it was a devastating blow to the family's livelihood.
“I witnessed first-hand food insecurity through destruction of maize by major post harvest pests - weevils,”
Donatus stated. The pesticides or agrochemicals used back then and even now seems to lack effectiveness, and the pests have developed resistance. Another pivotal childhood memory is of his uncle, who worked in the agrochemical industry. The latter died of cancer, which was allegedly caused by long-term exposure to toxic chemicals.

These experiences shaped Donatus´ desire to pursue a career in chemistry. He was passionate about developing a product that would combine different characteristics: “I was looking for a solution that is organic in nature, that won't affect human beings and at the same time a solution that will be effective”, so Donatus,using indigenous knowledge of natural herbal crop protection passed down from an older generation of farmers, Donatus and his team researched insecticidal and medicinal plants and were able to extract and identify a compound from those plants that proved effective in both killing and repelling weevils. The project started around 2015 and a first viable product was produced within two years. After some improvements, the product was finally ready for entry into the market in 2019. Molepse BioResources’s team counts 13 people, including several trained chemists, who work in different areas of a start-up, such as production, formulation, execution and sales & marketing, combining various expertise. The start-up’s name was made up in the search for the active component: "Molepse” is a wordplay on the word "molecule" and "Bioresources" indicates the organic nature of the products.

Sustainable protection against pests

But what exactly are Molepse´s products and what are the advantages in regard to sustainability? Dudukit and Dudumit are both grain storage protection products, the former aiming at small scale farmers and the latter being developed for large scale farming.

Dudukit is a multi-target biopesticide that has both mortality and repellence actions against both larvae and live weevils and has been processed using nanotechnology to improve its use and effectiveness. The kit is inserted in the storage bag after breaking the seal and lasts for 6 months without the need to reapply. Its eco-friendly, affordable and easy to use. The inorganic products currently in the market usually come in form of dust and require to be mixed with the grain. The obsolescence of this step not only reduces the risk of incomplete mixing and thus ensures the protection of the grains, but also reduces the amount of labour required, as this step involves personnel.

The second product, Dudumit, is developed for large storage silos used by large scale farmers, for instance national storage facilities. It is a liquid that has to be sprayed into the silo for pest control and protection. As the chemicals are released very slowly, the protection is granted for approximately 6 months, until the next harvest season.

“The product is appliable to all types of grains and effective against all major post-harvest storage pests,”
states Donatus.

Usually, with the inorganic products the grains have to be washed off and dried or exposed to sunlight before consumption to remove the chemicals. That is not necessary with Molepse BioResources’ product, as it consists of essential oils extracted from naturally growing herbs and shrubs. In addition, the production process is not energy intensive, making it even more environmentally friendly. But what about the price? Compared to other products on the market, the products are 50% cheaper. If we take into account the cost of labour, the savings are even greater, up to 70%, as mentioned above, due to the reduction of some labour-intensive processing steps, such as washing off the chemicals. Most importantly, the product does not bring up any environmental or health related concerns, as it is not affecting the end-consumers. Even animals that eat the grains would not be affected.

“We understand that embracing green solutions to insect pest attack can effectively increase food availability and boost the income of farmers and traders without adverse effects on health and the environment,”
Donatus commented.

Group of Kenyan grain farmers testing Molepses products on a sample of grain placed on a large cloth.
Group of Kenyan grain farmers testing Molepses products on a sample of grain placed on a large cloth.

Next steps for Molepse BioResources

Molepse wants to increase it´s footstep in the market and works on introducing their products in other countries in East and West Africa like Tanzania and Nigeria, which are both major grain producers. Kenya highly relies on grains imported from it´s neighbour Tanzania, providing the chance to solve the problem of infestation at the root, at the grains´ origin. Furthermore, the start-up is looking for funding to invest into suitable machinery to elevate the production of their innovative product.

Molepse BioResources, who joined the ISC3 Global Start-up Service in July 2023, is actively contributing to SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production).