About Green Caravan
Green Caravan is a fair trade company focused on improving the environment through the sale of organic and environmentally friendly products such as organic cashew nuts and organic solar dried mangoes. The company was started in Senegal , a peaceful West African country, by Jeffrey Chatellier and Ibrahima Cisse in the summer of 2005. The two met while Jeff was an agroforestry volunteer in the Peace Corps stationed in the Fatick region of Senegal and while Ibrahima was employed as a regional head for Enterprise Works, an American consulting company working on a USAID funded project to promote the nascent cashew processing industry.
Ibrahima, deeply intent on developing his country, wanted to help alleviate the poverty that exists in the rural parts of Senegal and Jeff wanted to help prevent the massive deforestation that was occurring. Through many long conversations, the two decided that a cashew processing company would be the best way to increase rural employment in the region and also act as a catalyst for widespread cashew tree planting. Green Caravan will be one of the few companies in West Africa that will operate under the theories of Fair Trade, paying its employees honest wages, ensuring a safe and clean working environment, and guaranteeing its producers of raw materials fair prices.
Green Caravan plans to be a pioneer in the field of development by creating a profitable company that is sustainable and promotes environmentally sound stewardship of the land.
Mr. Chatellier has extensive knowledge of cashew processing and Senegal. During a two-year assignment with the Peace Corps in Senegal, Mr. Chatellier worked with local farmers to establish cashew orchards using improved tree varieties and also advised farmers on best practices related to orchard management. Mr. Chatellier also collaborated with Enterprise Works, an American company in Senegal that provided consulting services to local cashew processors on employee training, processing techniques, and factory management. Previous to his experience in Senegal, Mr. Chatellier worked as a management analyst for BearingPoint’s emerging markets division focusing on privatization deals. He holds a BA in International Affairs from the George Washington University and is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is fluent in French and Mandinka and proficient in Wolof.
Mr. Cisse is an expert in all aspects of cashew processing from employee training to sales. Mr. Cisse spent three and a half years working for Enterprise Works, an American company specializing in providing consulting services to cashew processing entrepreneurs. In 2002, Mr. Cisse acted as an expert on cashew processing technologies and was responsible for training processing factory employees of EW’s clients. Mr. Cisse also performed regular analysis of clients’ production in order to ensure a high quality product and overall profitability. Acting on the behalf of a client, Mr. Cisse performed a due diligence mission to Dakar where he developed and finalized five contracts for processed cashew nuts. After receiving in depth training on all aspects of running a profitable cashew processing facility, Mr. Cisse was promoted to head EW’s office in Sokone, Senegal. In this position, Mr. Cisse was responsible for all of EW’s activities in the area and the management of a $31,000 USD budget. During his tenure in Sokone, Mr. Cisse analyzed the production capabilities of two processing factories in the area and successfully increased their production capabilities by creating an employee training program and advising on technology purchases. Mr. Cisse is a farmer and a licensed general electrician and speaks fluent French, Wolof, Jola, and Mandinka, and is proficient in English and Creole.
Chris Thurlow has supervised several agricultural and animal production facilities as part of his work with the NGO Ajuda de Desinvolvimento de Povo para Povo (ADPP) in southern Africa. While serving as assistant director for ADPP in northern Mozambique, he gained first-hand experience with sub Saharan Africa’s largest cashew farm, Nacala. Chris also has extensive administrative experience in developing settings, having worked in that capacity in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Senegal, and China. Chris holds a BA in psychology from George Washington University and is currently perusing a Master’s in Economic and Social Development from Columbia University. Chris speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese, which will ensure that Green Caravan will continue to dominate the cashew trade among the lucrative Chinese restaurant bloc in Dakar. Jeff and Cisse enlisted the help of Chris Thurlow in 2005, who was in Senegal at the time working for the World Bank-funded National AIDS Council.