Downgraded from a summit to a seminar, (what's the difference, Tony?), the prime minister's coffee morning with the white coats and green wellies brigade (aka the food chain) this week was, whatever media critics might say, an important stage in the development of agri-food sector unity. Super-cynics who feed on New Labour's penchant for hollow soundbites and whacky PR opportunities may well believe that the action points from the Downing Street get-together would have been enacted anyway, without the presidential Blair presence. But at least the PM heard for himself the determination along the chain that the radical recommendations of the Curry Commission should be implemented. Trouble is, fears remain about how many of the more substantive proposals will eventually win government funding. However, at least some cash was thrown on to the Downing Street table. And Blair, Beckett and Co gave their formal blessing to the Food Chain Centre ­ chaired by the admirable Deirdre Hutton ­ which will help build a more effective and efficient supply chain. Mind you, how you explain all this to a hill farmer with a whacking great overdraft and his bank manager's Mercedes pulling into the yard is another matter. But, encouragingly, this week's meeting suggested a desire for early action by the chain's key stakeholders. And the seminar's conclusions, rather than dismissed as abstract nouns by Daily Torygraph leader writers, must ultimately be expanded as important steps on the rocky road to a food and farming sector in which all participants enjoy a prosperous existence. We're promised a strategy for sustainable farming and food by early autumn.The Food Chain Centre, facilitated by the increasingly influential IGD, promises to be a solid foundation which deserves the support of all. The next few months could be the most crucial in UK agri-food history. As the Downing Street spin doctors would say, after the traumas of the past 12 months, it's fundamentally all about action and delivery. {{OPINION }}