Sir; We agree with the thrust of David Cameron's speech at the Oxford Farming Conference, which was that the direction of British farming will be determined by increasingly well-informed consumers ('Cameron the food patriot takes the floor', The Grocer, 6 January, p6) .

As Cameron pointed out, the likelihood is that the market will demand volume as well as value, and will expect growers to provide quality and quantity in ways that enhance the environment and mitigate climate change.

We face a challenge and won't be able to meet it by turning our backs on science. That flags up a key role for the current government and any future Cameron-led administration, which is the re-building of our degraded research and development base.

Government also has vital roles in ensuring proportionate regulation, efficient delivery and setting the right example in its procurement policies. David Cameron had encouraging things to say about all of those priorities - as indeed did David Miliband.

The fact there does appear to be an increasingly strong political consensus that farming matters to Britain is of

itself hugely encouraging.