Today, FreshCrop Ltd., a company set up by Chris and Ashley Gasperi seven years ago is one of Kenya’s largest certified seed producers, with thousands of potato producers under contract. It is now in the process of building a 8-ha French fry processing facility and biofertilizer plant.
FreshCrop Ltd. officially launched in 2019, and with mentorship from Ontario potato grower Peter Vanderzaag and the International Potato Centre, has also expanded into seed production and new variety trials using tissue cultures for apical root cuttings.
With no previous agriculture experience before planting the initial four acres, the Gasperis quickly identified and began to fill value chain gaps, including market and seed access for smallholder farmers. During a recent visit with family in the United States, the couple incorporated a three-day tour in Ontario, hosted by VanderZaag.
Gasperi: “The techniques [Ontario producers] use as far as nutrient distribution, it’s a lot different than we do over there. There’s a lot of different aspects of farming I’m taking away from my visit in Canada that I can use instantly when I get [home].”