The Better Cotton Initiative has reached a partnership agreement with the Israel Cotton Production and Marketing Board in which 100 percent of Israeli farmers have signed up to join the global program.

BCI said Better Cotton from the Israeli farmers is now available for processing. With the addition of Israel, BCI now operates in 21 countries worldwide.

“This addition represents an important step in our continued efforts to engage globally across a diverse range of farming systems,” said Corin Wood-Jones, BCI’s senior program manager. “We look forward to working with the ICB so that other Better Cotton farmers can potentially benefit from their extensive agronomic knowledge and specialized experience in such areas as water management.”

BCI’s mission is to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity, while also improving the farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.

While Israel is a relatively small cotton producer, it demonstrates highly advanced practices at the field level, BCI noted. Examples include countrywide implementation of integrated pest management methodology based on plot-specific scouting of pests and beneficial organisms, regular area-wide infestation assessment, cultural control methods, a pest resistance monitoring routine and regulated usage of pesticides.

In the realm of water and nutrition management, highly controlled and cost beneficial application of these inputs are based on direct plant and soil monitoring. The hallmark of the Israeli cotton sector and its proven success in producing high yields of high quality cotton is the result of ongoing collaboration between growers and their cooperatives, ginners, extension services and research and development activities and institutions, coordinated under the leadership of ICB.

Israel produces predominantly extralong staple cotton, feeding the Better Cotton supply chain with the highest quality cotton fiber. Many BCI members use extralong staple to produce high-quality textiles.

In its most recent fifth harvest season, BCI licensed 1.2 million farmers in 20 countries across five regions of the world, and accounted for 7.6 percent of global cotton production. BCI now counts some 700 member organizations, including major retailers and brands such as Adidas, H&M, Ikea, Levi Strauss & Co., Marks & Spencer and Nike Inc.