First, I was a member of Sir Don's commission and it was this group that proposed the new centre. Previously, I chaired the DTI Foresight Programme panel that also called for a food chain best practice centre, so it's only fair to provide some help with the difficult bit ­ turning recommendations into reality. But my motives run deeper than that. The Food Chain Centre aims to focus on key objectives, one of which is to help improve farmer profitability. We aim to do this in two ways. First to apply some well proven business techniques such as benchmarking, scorecarding and value chain analysis. Second, to improve the flow of information, especially of market needs, to the farming community. However, there are things we cannot do, so do not expect us to get involved in every single food chain issue. If we do not target our efforts, we won't make any real progress. The main reason I have accepted this challenge is that consumers should benefit too. In all the discussions about sophisticated consumer needs, we should never forget the basics. Everyone wants value for money and price will remain especially important to consumers on a low income. There are many ways to improve efficiency in the chain. For example, reducing administration costs, the number of part full or empty vehicle journeys, stockholding, downgrades and wastage. So if the Food Chain Centre can help strip non-value-adding costs from the chain and help farmers respond more smoothly and profitably to consumer needs, then everyone benefits. {{NEWS }}