If the clock were to be turned back 20,000 years and my abode was not a comfortable farmhouse but a draughty cave I would expect my man to do the hunting and gathering bit.

Instead of coming home at the end of the day with a litre or two of milk from the bulk tank, my Neanderthal protector would bring me edible plants and perhaps a slaughtered beast.

Given the choice between being a modern day missus or a cavewoman, it would take a mere second for me to vote for the present arrangement.

I’m somewhat puzzled therefore to read a paper by anthropologist and author Jared Diamond describing agriculture as ‘the worst mistake in the history of the human race’.

Farming is, he argues, a catastrophe from which we have never quite recovered.

With agriculture came ‘the social and sexual inequality, disease and despotism, that curse our existence’.

I’m sure he could argue a case for each of these points but when it comes to food, surely we are better off in almost every respect than the people of the Middle Ages, who in turn had it easier than cavemen.

And it’s not just food. Agriculture has freed us from the daily grind of survival.

However, it is surprising to learn that studies show that the few remaining hunter/gatherer societies work less hard than their farming neighbours and enjoy a healthier and more varied diet.

And evidence from archaeology supports the idea that hunter/gatherer societies were surprisingly healthy.

So why did these societies adopt agriculture?

In a sense, of course, the answer is obvious.

Imagine a band of savages, exhausted from searching for nuts or chasing wild animals, suddenly gazing for the first time at a fruit-laden orchard or a pasture full of sheep.

How many milliseconds do you think it would take them to appreciate the advantages of agriculture?

We can no more reject tools, agriculture, industry or technology than a leopard can disown its spots. These are what make us human.