Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries and highly vulnerable to climate change, faces critical issues such as water scarcity, increasing temperatures, and soil erosion. Chad heavily relies on agriculture as its primary economic sector but grapples with low crop yields that fail to meet the demands of its rapidly expanding population. Cotton plays a crucial role in Chad’s economy, serving as an important cash crop and a major contributor to agricultural exports. Smallholder farmers, primarily located in the southern regions, depend heavily on cotton farming for their livelihoods.

The cotton sector in Chad faces sustainability challenges that demand urgent attention. These challenges encompass poor technical knowledge of soil and water management, low productivity, limited access to good quality inputs and services, and poorly organized farmer groups. This results in low incomes and yields for farmers.

Cotton Landscape Program – Chad

Given Chad’s high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, the primary goal of the program is to create climate-resilient farming systems that generate better incomes for farmers and protect and regenerate the natural resource base.

To address some of these pressing issues, IDH, together with Cotontchad Société Nouvelle (Cotontchad) and other local and international partners, is working towards building a climate-resilient landscape in Chad’s cotton growing zone. The aim is to create a strong link between the regeneration and protection of natural resources and economic prosperity by strengthening the climate resilience of the farming-based systems in seven provinces.

In October 2022, IDH and Cotontchad kick-started the formation of the Landscape through the signing of a Letter of Intent by interested stakeholders to formalize the process of developing a regional development plan (‘Platform’), which will enable the delivery of the common vision. The signatories included the government (Ministry of Agricultural Production and Processing, Ministry of Environment, Fisheries and Sustainable Development), a research institution (L’Institut Tchadien de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), agricultural extension services (l’Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural), private sector companies (Job Booster Chad Entreprise, Centre de Recherche d’Innovation et Production Technologique), and civil society organizations (World Vision Tchad, Better Cotton Initiative, Cellule de Liaison et d’Information des Associations Féminines). Farmers are represented through UNPCT, the Union Nationale des Producteurs Cotonnières du Tchad. Read more about the partnership here.

We are still building the Platform and continue to invite any interested partners from the government, private sectors, CSOs, farmer organizations, communities, and other enablers to join the Landscape.

Implementation Model

The Chad landscape applies IDH’s Production, Protection, Inclusion (PPI) approach to achieve an inclusive goal and inspire sustainable landscape management.

Production: Increasing the productivity of farmers in a sustainable way, so they gain more from the same land. In combination with the diversification of farmers’ sources of income, this improves their livelihoods

Protection: Putting in place measures to conserve and restore natural resources (including soils, water, forests, etc.)

Inclusion: Improving livelihoods of farmers. This is done, among other things, by diversifying income sources and creating local ownership through participatory land use planning



Read about other Landscape programs here.

IDH and Cotontchad have entered into a strategic partnership within the Landscape initiative to collaboratively address key challenges in the cotton sector and contribute to the overall goals of the Landscape. This partnership emphasizes climate resilience, sustainable landscape management, and the diversification of cotton-based farming systems as essential components.

Cotontchad, being the sole processor and buyer of seed cotton, plays a pivotal role in the region’s cotton production, making it a core partner of the Landscape initiative. It is a privately-owned company jointly held by Olam (60%), the Chad government (35%), and farmer cooperatives (5%). Within Chad’s cotton sector, Cotontchad is the sole agribusiness entity operating. Smallholder farmers in seven provinces in southern Chad cultivate cotton, and Cotontchad’s primary activities involve aggregating and exporting cotton lint derived from ginning seed cotton sourced from over 200,000 smallholder farmers.

An SDM analysis conducted in 2021 concluded that the supply and development of smallholder cotton production is held back by (a) ineffective service delivery to cotton farmers, (b) limited availability of labour for land preparation and (c) adverse weather patterns as a result of climate change. Consequently, Cotontchad and IDH have chosen to prioritize the following key areas:

1. Improved Service Delivery to Farmers: Setting up and building the capacity of cooperatives to provide a range of services to farmers, incl. technical assistance, building capacity for the establishment of Village Savings and Loan Associations, and delivery of agri-entrepreneurship training by Job Booster Chad.

2. Climate-smart farming: Supporting the transition to climate-smart agricultural practices, incl. Agroforestry, and training on Better Cotton’s Principles and Criteria and gradual roll-out to 210,000 farmers.

3. Value chain development and market access: Supporting the development of other value chains and creating market linkages, such as sesame, groundnuts, and shea, and improving market access for cotton through attaining the Better Cotton license.

4. Gender and food security: Supporting production of food crops, including through increasing women´s access to CSA training, supporting women’s organizations, and mainstreaming gender across Cotontchad’s management.

From April 2022 to March 2023, IDH and Cotontchad implemented a one-year pilot project. The main outcomes of this project included:

  • GAP training was conducted at 204 demonstration plots, benefiting 8,282 farmers and expanding Cotontchad’s farmer outreach. The implementation of improved techniques led to a 197% increase in yield, and 97% of the participating farmers experienced a 40% average income growth.
  • A pilot program focused on crop diversification, specifically covering cropping, involving 754 farmers.
  • A pilot program aimed at sustainable mechanization engaged 371 farmers, resulting in higher yields and time savings.
  • A baseline study was conducted to assess farmer household income.
  • The scoping process was initiated for the implementation of the Better Cotton program.
  • A comprehensive value chain study that covered maize, groundnut, sesame, sorghum, millet, shea, and rice.
  • A feasibility study was conducted to assess the potential for increasing and conserving water resources to ensure drinking water security in the region.
  • Start-up of gender sensitization training and building of Cotontchad’s gender strategy

Based on the positive outcomes of the pilot phase, IDH and Cotontchad have decided to continue their collaboration by establishing a new multi-year funding agreement for the period of 2023 to 2025. This agreement aims to sustain and build upon the progress made during the pilot phase and address the key areas prioritized.

Additional to the partnership withing Cotontchad, IDH is teaming up with Job Booster Chad to support agri-entrepreneurs with developing sustainable agricultural and non-agricultural businesses with viable business models that provide quality services to small-scale producers and quality agricultural products for the local and national market.

Relevant SDGs

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Gender equality
  • Climate Action
  • Life on Land

For more information contact us