Sir; The UK food industry is, I suspect, unwittingly participating in a play of forces which is destroying the prospects for a more sustainable future for British agriculture. Caught between the twin forces of globalisation and price wars, many retailers and food manufacturers now have a policy of sourcing food where it is cheapest, and only buying from the UK if the producer can match the import price. The result has been a catastrophic decline in farm gate prices for producers. Until a year ago, organic farmers were largely immune to these pressures but not any more! Prices for many organic products now hardly cover production costs. The situation is getting desperate, with many farmers on the brink. Will anyone gain from this brave new world of British agriculture? Certainly not the public and, quite possibly not the packers, manufacturers and retailers who will be fighting for an ever diminishing slice of wafer thin margins. As for the farmers ­ they will always suffer most as they are at the bottom of the food chain. The only antidote to this truly bleak vision for UK food and farming is to build an army of informed consumers who are prepared to pay more for high quality food and are fiercely loyal to British producers. We all know that customers believe strongly in the health benefits of organic food. But they also want food produced to the very highest animal welfare standards, from a farming system that is good for the environment, and from British farmers. We have to persuade retailers and manufacturers who buy merely on price and who import when they could source here, that they are not, in fact, really listening to their customers. The Soil Association is committed to a programme of public awareness raising to bring this about, and we are looking for all the support we can get from the food industry. Patrick Holden Director Soil Association Bristol {{LETTERS }}