from Tom Hind, chief dairy adviser, NFU

Sir; Asda is right to draw attention to the difference between the way it buys liquid milk from farmers and the approach of other multiples ('Asda clear about milk price strategy, Letters, April 22).

Having a direct relationship with a dedicated pool of producers means Asda is responsible for the fortunes of the dairy farmers that supply it, unlike most other retailers who cannot prove the returns their farmers receive. The NFU have supported this approach since its inception and we commend Asda for laying down the gauntlet to other major retailers.

However, Asda needs to go further and offer a long-term commitment to a profitable price to dairy farmers and not just a premium over someone else's. With production costs escalating beyond 20ppl for most dairy farmers, Asda still has some way to go to ensuring its producers have a sustainable and profitable return.

Retail prices should not be a concern for dairy farmers, but we do not think it can be in the best interests of producers, processors or retailers to see devaluation of the end product at customer level.

Sufficient profit is being made in the liquid milk supply chain to let everyone to have a decent return. It is not just a fairer distribution of costs that most farmers need, but a fairer distribution of profits.

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