Crofting federation sees hope for the future

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The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) says crofting has a future despite the uncertainties of the coming years, but warns that crofters will need to stand together.

Chairman Russell Smith, following the SCF’s annual gathering at Applecross on ‘Crofting’s Place in Europe’, said: ‘Given the result of the Crofting Commission elections, it is clear that crofting has a future – but it is something we will have to fight for.

‘Speakers at our gathering presented plenty of evidence to show that a sustainable future for rural communities, food production and the environment depends on small-scale holdings with a range of activities and an holistic approach to rural development.

‘Brexit doesn’t seem to have anything positive to offer Scotland, but a fresh look at a replacement for the Common Agriculture Policy will be a vital opportunity to find a policy that works for crofting.’

Mr Smith hoped the election would ‘see the end of the unrest within the crofting regulator’, but urged for voting reform.

‘Looking at the number of votes cast,’ he said, ‘it is very disappointing the Scottish Government did not take the opportunity to revise the voting constituencies before this election, so again the proportions are all wrong – in the Western Isles particularly, where even the second-placed had more votes than the total votes cast for all three winners of the other contested constituencies, yet has no place on the board.

‘In the potentially difficult negotiations ahead, we need all crofters and commissioners to present a united voice for crofting.’