The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is working with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA), which is an initiative by King Charles III, and luxury fashion company, LVMH, to address the impact of climate change on the Lake Chad basin in Central Africa.

The partnership seeks to support sustainable cotton growing, which is a vital source of income for local communities in Chad while restoring the biodiversity of the degraded land around the lake.

It is estimated that four fifths (80%) of Chadians work in the agricultural sector and cotton is a significant cash crop forthe region, so the new four-year programme aims to support sustainable cotton farming in its Logone Occidental and Lac provinces.

Over half a million indigenous trees will be planted across 4,800 hectares of land surrounding Lake Chad to regenerate the region’s ecosystem. The programme will also facilitate access to markets and support other agricultural value chains like timber and fruit farming through local farmers’ associations.

David Miliband, the president, and CEO of the IRC, stated, “The IRC is delighted to join hands with CBA, LVMH, and partners to restore biodiversity, heal degraded soil and strengthen local livelihoods through sustainable and resilient farming solutions in Chad.”

Ali Amadou, the IRC Chad deputy director of programmes followed this by highlighting the potential of sustainable cotton growing in mitigating the impact of climate change on the region’s land use.

He said that by adopting sustainable farming methods in the Logone Occidental and Lac provinces, local communities can reduce water usage and prevent soil degradation while protecting fragile ecosystems.

Meanwhile, CBA chair Marc Palahí explained: “The programme is special to the Alliance [CBA] as it demonstrates how the need to decarbonise economic sectors like the fashion industry can act as a catalyst to restore degraded landscapes.”

Hélène Valade, LVMH environmental development director added: “The group has committed to making the protection of biodiversity and fighting climate change an absolute priority and being an exemplary actor of change, targeting to implement regenerative agriculture in all its strategic supply chains.”

The programme will be implemented in partnership with a number of organisations:

  • Pretaterra, which is described as the world’s largest agroforestry intelligence hub
  • Reforest’Action, which preserves, restores, and grows forests globally
  • Olam International, which works in the agribusiness value chain
  • CotontChad SIV, which is partly owned by Olam International and the Government of Chad,
  • RAPS Mandoul, which is based in Chad’s Logone province and works in agroforestry.

With this partnership, IRC, CBA, and LVMH hope to support the regeneration of the land around Lake Chad and build resilient and sustainable communities in Central Africa.