Sir, The PTF works closely with Defra on behalf of dairy exporter members on problems to do with trading. In the case of exports to Russia, it was PTF that submitted names of dairy companies wishing to be included on the list of approved premises ('Export plans hampered by Defra? Call the Grocer', 31 July, p33).

It is through trade associations that Defra is able to obtain collective information on parts of the industry affected by any given policy. In this case Singleton's, not being a PTF member, was unaware of the need to be on the Russian list. It is not Defra's fault that it was omitted. Defra can only be as good as the information presented to it.

Defra's resources are limited, so if it only needs to liaise with one organisation on matters affecting a whole sector, it is more cost-effective for itself, the taxpayer and PTF members alike. With further cost-cutting in the pipeline, government departments will need help from trade associations such as ours more than ever before and non-members will lose out. No company should have to fall back on The Grocer to fight a rearguard action on their behalf. Defra will not thank them for it.

Clare Cheney, director-general, Provision Trade Federation