Scottish Government’s ‘vision’ for future of Scotland’s agriculture forgot about crofting

The Scottish Crofting Federation [SCF] has rejected the Scottish Government’s published ‘vision’ for the future of Scottish agriculture – on the understandable grounds that crofting hardly features in it.

‘Despite successive ministers for crofting giving assurances that the Scottish Government is very supportive of crofting’, says SCF’s chair, Fiona Mandeville, ‘this doesn’t seem to be shared by those who make agricultural policy.

‘The Scottish Government published their vision entitled ‘the Future of Scottish Agriculture’ and crofting is mentioned in only one of the nine outcomes.

‘Crofting plays a vital role in the supply of high quality replacement stock and store animals, in maintaining High Nature Value landscape and in retaining rural populations. But despite the huge contribution crofting makes, it is hardly recognised in this top-level document.’

The public consultation on the Scottish Government’s paper, The Future of Scottish Agriculture, ended last Friday.

The SCF’s response to it said: ‘The lack of reference to crofting in the document is glaring and quite shameful. Crofting is regarded by other nations as a model for sustainable land use, satisfying many international objectives for food production, land use, rural community development and nature conservation, yet the Scottish Government ‘vision’ barely mentions crofting in passing.

‘SCF does not share the Scottish Government support for an outdated, profit-oriented, unsustainable model of industrial agriculture.

‘It is time for change.

‘In the next draft of The Future of Scottish Agriculture we therefore hope to see far more reference to crofting, small-scale food production, shared land use, High Nature Value farming and delivery of public goods.

‘The government vision is hung-up on profit; it is mentioned fourteen times in the document. There appears to be little understanding of the wider picture. Agriculture is about land-based culture, not just about making profit.’

It would seem that a government with its fiscal plans in disarray, having made extravagant promised to spend to a level it cannot see how to fund, is indeed profit obsessed and prepared to abandon the vital plethora of small players in the agriculture sector.

The crofters, however, are clearly not about to take that lying down.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Ramping SNP BAD.
    Hilarious Mini Hack!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

    Hugh Jazz April 3, 2016 7:41 pm Reply
  • HJ

    You are becoming very tedious under the influence…

    A report from the Scottish Crofting Federation, which logically must have quite a few SNP supporters among its its members you dismiss as SNP BAD/. This suggests you should get off your sad lounger and slope off to bed. You need to sleep it off.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

    Scotnat April 3, 2016 8:36 pm Reply
  • Fiona Mandeville ain’t exactly the traditional crofter with a hubby who used to use the sea between Skye and the mainland as a munitions testing ground. Indeed, said area is also a munitions dumping ground. Wouldn’t take much notice of folk like Mandeville.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

    Willie April 3, 2016 9:44 pm Reply
  • Fiona Mandeville represents the ” normal ” crofter … I take it you have a problem with crofters too Willie…you seem to have a problem with everybody involved in agriculture would you like to explain why ?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    Karl Hughes April 3, 2016 10:12 pm Reply
  • I have to say that I do not understand what is so special about crofting. As a non farming type it seems to be a Scottish version of subsistence farming tied up in red tape.

    Perhaps someone will enlighten me?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    JimB April 3, 2016 11:22 pm Reply
    • JB… there are around 18,000 crofts in Scotland and around 33,000 people live in crofting households… around 10% of the population of the Highlands and Islands…

      Crofting households represent around 30% of households in the rural areas of the mainland Highlands. Crofting households represent up to 65% of households in Shetland, the Western Isles and Skye.

      though all do not directly rely on crofting as a primary income…however in 2014 (last figures I can find) crofting was responsible for around an estimated total revenue of almost £86m….Crofters more reliant on Common Agricultural Policy payments than other producers it is clearly crucial that the SG pay on time. Under the Scottish government’s CAP implementation plans, it was estimated that direct funding for crofters will increase from around £20m in 2013 to £33m in 2019.

      Livestock production accounts for 47 per cent of Scottish agricultural output … a figure much higher than in England. Crofters have around 20% of all beef cattle and 45% of breeding ewes in the Highlands and Islands area, though numbers are declining

      Interesting to note that 347 abandoned crofts have been brought back into use in the last four years… that’s 347 areas of Scotland that are again productive and supporting people in Scotland….

      It is usually not possible to make a living from crofting agriculture alone and crofting communities do several jobs, contributing to their livelihood and further supporting the rural economy. So crofting is significant in all aspects of rural development, embodying the principles of diversification, co-operation, entrepreneurial vision and community spirit. It is this resourcefulness and attachment to the land which maintains crofting populations in some of the most fragile, remote and challenging areas of Western Europe.

      Crofters are therefore justifiably proud of their way of life.

      Couple of more points:
      “There are 770,000 hectares under crofting tenure, being 25% of the agricultural area in the Highlands and Islands and 12.5% of Scotland’s agricultural land. Of this 0.58 million hectares is common grazing.”
      “Land use in the crofting counties is constrained by climate, soils and topography. Virtually all of the land in the crofting counties is classified as Severely Disadvantaged in terms of the European Less Favoured Area Directive, yet these areas receive the lowest LFA payments.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

      Karl Hughes April 4, 2016 5:49 am Reply
  • The 1886 Crofting Act was a radical piece of legislation that gave people who were being cleared off the land tenure of the land in near perpetuity at a peppercorn rent from their feu superiors. Subsequent govdrnmental support for crofters by way of financial grant has been invaluable is assisting resist depopulation of the Highlands. Land and it’s use is a highly emotive subject very much a part of the indigenous community and no one would suggest crofting is only about subsistence farming.It might have been one hundred plus years ago but not now. Today, many ctofters run a B and B or a holiday let whilst keeping some sheep. Crofts in the modern day are a robustly guarded and indeed envied possession

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    Willie April 4, 2016 5:05 am Reply
    • We hear a lot about the Crofting Act, but I’m not sure it was a good thing. Before the Act, factors could move people off their crofts if they were not working them and give them to families who could. The crofting community always looked after everyone back then, so the best use of the land was in everyone’s interest. Once money started changing hands, as in tenants passing crofts on to the highest bidder, the communities were fighting a rearguard action to save their way of life.
      Nowadays people get access to crofting land who have high earning careers elsewhere, it used to be that the young family members would work away from the crofts, coming home and helping when they could, now the tenants themselves work away a lot of the time.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

      Murdoch MacKenzie April 4, 2016 1:06 pm Reply
      • Murdoch, who’s responsible for this change?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        richard April 4, 2016 1:55 pm Reply
      • MM…read the act your SNP buddies passed :

        And then substantiate your vacuous claim that > “Nowadays people get access to crofting land who have high earning careers elsewhere” with some factual references, not imaginary bull shite…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

        Karl Hughes April 4, 2016 2:10 pm Reply
  • Thanks – I am a little wiser.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    JimB April 4, 2016 8:41 am Reply
  • You are welcome Jim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Karl Hughes April 4, 2016 9:06 am Reply

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