Letter: Farmers under fire

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The Independent Online
Sir: Andreas Whittam Smith misses much of the point in his farming analysis (16 December). Not only has agriculture been distorted by price support, it has also been the dupe of ruthless corporations.

While farmers are a convenient target, much blame rests with the feed and pesticide corporations and the regulatory bodies. These rely on a pseudo-science in which "no proof of harm" in short-term trials is used to permit a lifetime exposure.

The long-term chemical adulteration of food and the unpredictable effects of genetically engineered crops are just two examples. Unless you are highly motivated, it is almost impossible to avoid buying soft drinks or processed foods which expose your children to both.

Meanwhile, our government, whilst trumpeting support for organic farming, spends each year, a pitiful pounds 845,000 with a further pounds 1m spent on research.

Sampford Peverell, Devon