08 Mar 2022
Cairo, Egypt
Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Since 2015, entrepreneurs Omar Badran and Khaled Sherif have been realizing their dream of driving Egypt towards modern, sustainable agriculture. Egypt enjoys plentiful space but famously limited arable land — just 2.9% of national territory. For this reason, Badran and Sherif began experimenting with the revolutionary integrated aqua-vegeculture system (IAVS), an aquaponics technique designed to withstand imbalanced climates.

The duo’s dream developed into Kiwa, a sustainable agriculture project that revolves around IAVS technology. To date, Kiwa has successfully built two commercial greenhouses, which can produce high-quality vegetables such as arugula, spinach, cherry tomatoes, kale, and parsley. While Kiwa’s dedicated team looks relentlessly to the future, the project already bears literal fruit. “When we saw the quality of vegetables growing, it was a joyful moment to behold our hard work becoming a reality,” said Neveen Badr, Kiwa’s chief business officer.

Kiwa’s story owes much to the varied talents of the company’s team, which carefully identified and implemented a novel brand of sustainable agriculture. After first discovering the IAVS concept, Badran and Sherif confirmed that the new principles retain the core advantages of traditional aquaponics, while overcoming several drawbacks.

By 2016, the co-founders were ready to enter commercial operations. Badran became Kiwa’s chief executive officer, while Sherif assumed chief operating officer duties. Kiwa also enlisted the skills and experience of Badr, agricultural consultant Mohamed Shams, and creative designer Dana Ismail.

Together, the small team started to achieve several corporate milestones, including the landmark construction of Kiwa’s two greenhouses, totalling 600 square meters. The facilities, which run on IAVS processes, have produced organic fruit and vegetables for Kiwa’s established (and growing) customer base around Egypt.

Badr points out, however, that Kiwa did not always enjoy a smooth ride towards commercial viability. “Since inception, Kiwa has faced many challenges,” she noted, highlighting pest control, high capital expenditure (the greenhouses alone cost around US$38,000), and difficulty in retaining skilled agricultural labor.

“The road in sustainable agriculture is long and full of challenges,” Badr concluded. “Those who are looking for quick results will not find what they want in this sector.”

By the same token, Kiwa’s experience demonstrates that persistence can pay handsome dividends. The Kiwa team firmly believe that they have found a winning concept with the IAVS technique—an early adoption that positions Kiwa to reap environmental and commercial gains long into the future.


Learn more about Kiwa through Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Kiwa

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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Kiwa Sustainable Food and Agriculture