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Smallholder consultation launch

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon

IN A speech to Scottish Smallholder Festival in Forfar, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has highlighted the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting smallholders to tackle climate change.

A consultation on Small Landholdings will also be launched.

The Cabinet Secretary commented:

“Small landholdings are part of Scotland’s agricultural and national heritage, and must continue as part of our future.

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“We are fully committed to modernising their unique legislative status, and ensuring their rights are comparable with other types of land tenure, so they are fit for the 21st Century.

“The small landholdings consultation, which I’m launching this morning, builds on proposals from our new ambitious land reform bill.

“We want to see the benefits of land ownership and investment in land being shared fairly, and we have put forward plans for changes that will affect how land is owned, bought, sold, managed, and used.

“The treatment of small landholdings is of course, an integral part of this, and our new consultation will allow us to dig deeper, and focus our attention on this form of land tenure.

“Small Landholders may be few in number, but their collective talent and ambition is vast; like small farms, crofts and smallholders, they are our innovators, and we are determined to support them.

“I would encourage you all to respond to this small landholdings consultation with your ideas and views, to engage with the process, and to contribute to delivering our farming ambition.

Ms Gougeon also said:

“We are dedicated to supporting our smallholders. That is why we will be closing the small farms grant scheme and will be working with you and other stakeholders including Smallholder Scotland, Land Workers Alliance and the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, to create a Smallholder Support Farm Grants Pilot.

“This Pilot will enable Scottish smallholders to contribute to delivering our Vision for Agriculture and will ensure we deliver a scheme that works for industry, increases equlity of opportunity and improved business resilience, efficiency and profitability..

“We are committed to empowering our smallholders to contribute to our Good Food Nation ambitions and Local Food strategy, particularly to create more localised supply chains, enhance value, and cut food miles.

“We will be working with you, smallholder stakeholders and SAOS, to develop a new pilot that works for the industry, increases equality of opportunity, and improves business resilience, efficiency and profitability.

“Our smallholders will play a vital role in increasing the proportion of food grown and processed by small farms, and consumed locally by the community – including for people on low incomes, affected by the cost of living crisis.”

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