Date lodged: 20 June 2016
To ask the Scottish Government how the less favoured area support scheme payments work to mitigate relative disadvantage.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 29 June 2016
The less favoured area support scheme is important to the economy of both the rural and remote communities throughout Scotland, due to the limited production opportunities on poorer quality land. Support is available to over 11,000 farmers and crofters within the less favoured area (LFA) which extends to 85% of Scotland’s agricultural area, illustrating the scale of disadvantage faced by Scotland’s farmers compared to other more productive farmland elsewhere in the UK and EU. The current scheme has been in place since 2010, and we worked closely with stakeholders on the design of the scheme that differentiates payments across the LFA by both disadvantage and fragility.
European regulations require us move to a new areas facing natural constraint designation and scheme by 2018, and we are working with stakeholders to consider the options for Scotland. A separate consultation will be issued later this year.