Meet our CEO

"Natura Agro, founded by a fifth generation Egyptian farmer (CEO Amr El Meniawy), grows and produces fruits and vegetables to white label for food producers. Providing Europe with an alternative to Chinese goods, its main export markets include the Netherland, Czech Republic, and Germany. Amr El Meniawy’s family has been cultivating Egyptian cotton and rice since 1910. Amr grew up helping wherever an extra set of hands was needed and in the process gained a deep understanding of traditional farming. In 1999, after graduating from The Police Academy with a Bachelor’s Degree in Security and Law, Amr stepped away from the farm to join the Egyptian police force.

His motivations were two-fold, he felt compelled to contribute to the stability of the country, but he also realized that traditional farming was not for him, he wanted to add value to the product. In 2004, he resigned and returned to El-Meniawy’s Farm briefly. During this time he obtained its ISO 9001 quality certification and negotiated a deal with an Italian wholesaler for roasted artichokes, the farm’s first European client. As he learned more about exporting to Europe, Amr realized that Egypt’s proximity, low labor costs, and favorable trade agreements created a great opportunity to take advantage of their high demand for fruits and vegetables, and meant his pricing would be more competitive than Chinese exporters. In 2005, Amr used his personal savings to found Natura Agro. His mission was to grow produce that was not traditionally farmed in Egypt (olives, artichoke, asparagus, peppers, etc.) but was in demand by European consumers. Amr used his family’s pristine reputation to source raw materials with relaxed payment terms and hired operational and production managers. As an agriculturalist, Amr knew that he wouldn’t have a product to sell for several years so as the seeds were sowed, Amr focused oncultivating his business acumen. After a brief stint in security at BP, he joined G4S to establish the British security company’s Alexandria branch. There he learned what it takes to establish legal entity, manage a balance sheet, hire and develop people, and run public relations, while at the same time, completed half of the coursework required for an MBA. In 2008, he hired a branch manager and took on the role of Chairman so that he could focus on Natura full time. Until 2011, Amr had been exporting produce to Italy in bulk to be repackaged and sold, however when the debt crisis hit business dried up and he was forced to rethink Natura’s value proposition. Amr began producing canned fruits and vegetables to private label for clients andselling under Natura’s own brand. Natura Agro has used Egypt’s proximity to Europe and its favorable trade conditions to offer better service and more competitive pricing. Amr builds on these advantageous conditions by strategically sourcing. Agro’s wide range of fresh, canned, roasted and ready to eat fruits and vegetables are sourced from 15 small and professional farms. Working with both mitigates risk but Natura prefers to work with smaller farmers who enter exclusive contract farming deals allowing the company to source produce at cost. Natura has earned market share by providing cheaper but superior products and, going forward, Amr is committed to developing in demand products to upsell to new and existing clients. Amr believes product innovation and a commitment to quality standards will drive future growth. For the next two years, Natura Agro will focus on developing additional canned products, and further improving its quality standards by building a new production facility."