Many farmers and crofters already have the answers. There is plenty of knowledge and examples of good practice to be shared.- Ariane Burgess MSP
The role Scotland’s small farmers and crofters play in delivering food security and tackling the climate crisis must be central to strategic planning if the sector is to accelerate its transition towards a net zero future, according to the Scottish Greens.
Concerns and ideas over safeguards in areas of funding and delivering on net zero targets should form an essential part of consultations over The Agriculture Bill launched to underpin farming for generations to come, Ariane Burgess MSP said.
The Agriculture Bill will examine if payments to the biggest farms could be capped in future, freeing up more funds to support small farmers in particular to directly contribute to the national effort to reach net zero, safeguard the climate and restore nature.
Speaking to around 400 farmers, crofters and representatives of the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) outside the Scottish Parliament today, the Highlands and Islands MSP stressed the pivotal role small scale farmers and crofters will play.
“We need a just transition and we need to start planning for it now. We need to listen to farmers and to learn from and work with them. We need a funding system that helps all farmers to combat climate change and nature loss.
“The majority of public funding for agriculture must support those who actively provide food through climate-and nature friendly farming.
“Small scale farmers and crofters are particularly in need of support.
“That’s why the Scottish Greens would like to see further consideration of a cap on payments to the biggest farms – freeing up more funds to support farmers to help us reach net zero, safeguard the climate and restore nature.”
“Many farmers and crofters already have the answers," she stressed, “There is plenty of knowledge and examples of good practice to be shared, that is why peer to peer knowledge-sharing programmes must be scaled up.
“As we face big changes, there is strength in working together to ensure the climate, economic and social benefits go hand in hand.”
The Agriculture Bill consultation is open online until November 21.