Food minister Lord Whitty yesterday praised the progress made by English Farming and Food Partnerships in its first year of existence.

Lord Whitty told a lunch at the House of Lords that EFFP was a dynamic body that had hit the ground running and was bringing new ideas to the industry: "There's an awful lot to do but you have made a great start."

He said: "The general message of collaboration through the food chain is embodied through the EFFP approach."

He said that CAP reform meant it was vital that there was greater collaboration, trust and understanding across the food chain, adding: "The positive links you are forging will be the background for a more prosperous and stable future for the farming industry."

EFFP is one of the bodies set up in the wake of Sir Don Curry's report on the future of the food chain. It aims to improve the profitability of farmers and farmer-controlled businesses.