Scotland’s small producers will soon have access to a range of new support designed to create more localised supply chains and cut food miles.
The Scottish Government’s Small Producers Pilot Fund aims to help individual small producers increase their resilience and enhance their contribution to the rural economy.
Planned to open later this year, the Pilot Fund seeks to improve access to training, skills, further processing, and food supply chains – helping producers enhance their value and become more sustainable.
In partnership with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and agriculture, small holding and food industry stakeholders, the government has set up an industry-led steering group to co-design the Pilot Fund. Its first meeting is on 28 March 2023.
Announcing the steering group, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “We are committed to ensuring accessible support for small producers and small businesses, including small scale food production and processing.
“Working in partnership with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), agricultural, small holding and food industry stakeholders, the steering group will design a flexible funding approach that supports local food supply chains, improves access to the right training opportunities, and helps link together small producers into existing abattoirs.
“The Small Producers Pilot Fund will replace the Small Farms Grants Scheme and aims to increase the proportion of food grown and processed by small farms and small holders, and consumed locally by their local community, including those affected by the cost-of-living crisis.”
SAOS Business Development Manager Helen Glass added: “The pilot will assist in creating more-localised food supply chains, enhancing producer value and cutting food miles. Additionally, it will provide the opportunity to support individual small producers in developing their skills and will be key to supporting these producers in enhancing the vital contribution they already make to the rural economy.”