James Gichanga Karanja
Agribusiness Entrepreneur 2015
Founder and General Manager of Freshco Seeds Kenya Ltd.
Capt. James Gichanga Karanja (Rtd). is the founder and General Manager of Freshco Seeds Kenya Ltd. The company is involved in producing, processing, and marketing seeds to the farming community in the countries of East Africa. Capt. Karanja is the current Honorary Secretary of The Seed Trade Association of Kenya. He is also a Fellow of the Seeds of Development Programme, a network of emerging seed companies from the Sub-Saharan Africa region. He retired from the Kenya Defence Forces as Captain in 1997, and thereafter set out to establish an agribusiness company. He trained as an Agricultural Engineer at the Jomo Kenyatta University College of Agriculture & Technology. He lives in Nairobi with his wife, two sons, and a daughter.
Founded in 2000, Freshco is a seed company based in Kenya, specializing in the production, processing, and distribution of high quality seeds and planting materials to farming communities in Kenya and the larger East and Central Africa region. The company is headquartered in Nairobi. Freshco’s corporate values, which include accountability, integrity, respect, transparency, sustainability, and people-centeredness, are underpinned by the principle of “making a positive difference in the lives of smallholder farmers – “putting farmers first.” Freshco markets a wide variety of vegetable and cereal seeds to smallholder farmers, including 9 varieties of maize, 17 varieties of vegetables, 8 drought-resistant crop varieties, and 18 tree seed varieties, as well as planting materials. The company produces maize and pulse seeds in various parts of Kenya, and manages its own processing, packaging, marketing, and distribution. Freshco also packages and markets assorted vegetable seeds. In addition, the company is involved in collaborative research and product advancement initiatives for maize and pulses with national and international research institutions and universities. These partnerships enable Freshco to pilot and commercialize cutting-edge agricultural technologies and solutions for the benefit of the farming communities in its strong distribution network.