Dr. George O. Kegode
Founder and CEO
SUPESTA was created with one mission – to confront the challenge of pesticide use in Africa. It’s a bold undertaking but an important one because we seek to promote the safety of Africans and their environment.
Based in Maryville, Missouri, SUPESTA is a U.S. company, but our roots extend all the way to Kenya, East Africa, where our founder, George Kegode, was born and raised. After receiving a doctorate in agronomy and weed science from Iowa State University, he pursued a career in research and teaching at University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University, and Northwest Missouri State University.
For over 20 years, George conducted weed management research where he evaluated pesticides and developed integrated weed management techniques that had minimal reliance on pesticide use. His findings have been used to educate farmers, inform policy makers and regulators, and led to the publication of several peer-reviewed manuscripts.
However, no matter how successful he was in the U.S., one thing remained abundantly clear. African crop production was going through a transformation that was set to be extremely challenging. Rapid population growth and the demand for sufficient food have led to intensive crop production systems that rely on the use of pesticides.
SUPESTA views the escalating use of pesticides in Africa as a huge challenge for smallholder farmers, because most of them are not aware of the environmental and health hazards of pesticide use and exposure. We understand that if smallholder farmers aren’t taught how to use these products properly and safely, their lives and environment will be at risk.
In recent trips to Ethiopia and Mozambique to evaluate pesticide use and develop safe use action plans for programs funded by the United States Agency for International Development, George witnessed firsthand how the lack of basic pesticide knowledge led to improper handling, transportation, use, and disposal of pesticide. In addition, most smallholder farmers deemed the use of personal protective equipment as unnecessary.
While on a visit to Kenya, George witnessed smallholder farmers mixing pesticides in harvested grain prior to storage and/or marketing. Treated grain would then be milled, without pesticide removal, prior to consumption.
At SUPESTA, we believe that smallholder farmers in Africa are entitled to receiving the necessary support that would allow them to handle pesticides safely. Proper use of pesticide would lead to the production of high quality and nutritious food while safeguarding human health and the environment.
So, while pesticide use has become the new reality in Africa, let us help you achieve your agricultural and food security goals without negatively impacting humans and the environment. Contact us and let’s continue this discussion; together we can help prevent Africa from succumbing to pesticide poisoning.