The Tories have accused the Scottish Government of failing young female farmers.
The Scottish Conservatives rural spokesperson, Rachel Hamilton MSP, made the comments after it emerged only 62 young women received support from the Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Scheme between 2016 and 2019.
A written question from Ms Hamilton to Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon on the number of female recipients under the scheme revealed 25 received support in 2016, 10 got funding in 2017, 26 were successful in 26, and only one woman received funding from the scheme in 2019.
“These figures highlight the lack of progress this SNP Government has made in encouraging new blood into our agricultural sector,” said Ms Hamilton.
“I know from speaking to young female farmers at Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) events, that there is a real enthusiasm to start out in farming; but this is clearly not matched by Government schemes.”
She said every young woman in rural Scotland should have the opportunity to farm, or pursue a career in a rural sector, should they wish to do so.
Ms Hamilton added: “The SNP are letting down rural Scotland by failing to provide more women living in these areas with greater opportunities.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the government had invested more in agricultural new entrants than other parts of the UK, with Young Farmer Start Up Grants totalling £12 million and New Entrant Start Up Grants totalling more than £600,000.
She said: “While women play a major role in Scottish agriculture they are still significantly under represented; we are committed to do more to attract women into the industry.”
She said the culture around succession on farms was the single biggest barrier to women’s equality in agriculture and the government was committed to engaging with stakeholders to “drive a move towards celebrating and appreciating the benefits of greater diversity and equality”.