from Peter Melchett, policy director, the Soil Association

Sir; The Soil Association hopes readers will support our call for the supermarket code of practice to be replaced with a stronger code and for the establishment of a retailer watchdog.

Regardless of what the Office of Fair Trading says following its review, we and 14 other organisations want the current code to be scrapped.

The imbalance of power in the food chain is one of the key causes of the intensification of food production globally, which has led to major environmental, food quality, social and animal welfare problems. Organic farming can solve the problems of intensification, but it needs additional, specific protection since the economic risks to producers are higher.

The supermarkets account for 81% of UK organic food sales. While they have promoted organic produce, they have recently been applying inappropriate price pressure on organic producers.

Some have already been forced out of business and the expansion of the organic sector is being threatened.

We are therefore calling on consumers to support our ethical trade initiative, which will ensure organic producers are paid a fair price that covers the higher costs of production and gives a reasonable return.

Organic produce covered by the initiative will be identifiable by the term ‘ethically traded’ appearing next to the Soil Association logo on the label.