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The Scottish Government is continuing to favour large agricultural producers over small-scale land–users…despite the key role that crofters and other smallholders could play in building a more resilient food system for the future.

That's the fear of the Scottish Crofting Federation after First Minister Humza Yousaf’s announcement on future splits of the agricultural budget at the NFUS conference last Friday.

SCF will be joining fellow organisations in a demonstration at the Scottish parliament on Monday 19 February, for a future agricultural policy that benefits crofters and other small-scale producers, instead of distributing millions of £s to the country’s largest private landowners.

The SCF say: "Unfortunately, without further clarification it is not clear how this will impact on crofters as it largely depends on how the budget will be distributed in detail.

"There is no indication yet of the total budget, how the 70% will be split between Tiers 1 and 2, or how onerous applying for these will be for crofters on common grazings. 

"While SCF is keen to see the less favoured area support retained in some form, we are extremely disappointed that it appears it will still be available to more than just those who live and work in remote areas with poor weather, poor ground and suffer additional costs as a result."

SCF Chair, Jonathan Hedges, said, “The SCF will keep pushing for the inclusion of a mandatory redistribution of payments into the Agriculture and Rural Communities Framework Bill. In line with the EU’s common agricultural policy, to which the Scottish Government has promised to stay aligned, we are asking for a cap of direct payments at a certain hectarage and for more funding allocated towards the first hectares of payment.

"Further, we are asking them to abolish the minimum threshold of 3ha as eligibility criterium to access direct payments.  This will ensure that crofters receive a fair share of the agricultural budget and helps to build a more resilient food system for the future.”