NOTE: This motion is eligible for Member’s Business, meaning that, if selected, it shall be debated at some point in the Chamber.
The Role of Crofting in the Highlands and Islands
That the Parliament understands that there are 18,027 crofts in the Highlands and Islands and across Scotland, housing over 33,000 people; considers that crofters play a key role through the production of store animals for the agricultural supply chain and in maintaining land in remote areas; believes that crofts are a valuable source of high-health status animals for larger agricultural food producers; considers the work of crofters to be vital to Scotland’s national food and drink policy and to the continuing success of the sector; understands that most crofters rely on common agricultural policy subsidies to earn a marginal income and that they have to take on second jobs; believes that, by bringing in new inhabitants and because of the economic links that crofters have with the rest of the agricultural sector, crofting has helped maintain population levels in remote communities, considers crofting to be of paramount importance to the environment, food and drink sector and economy, and would welcome the interests of crofters and their communities being championed.
Brian Pack, an expert in agriculture and former Senior Agricultural Economist with the North of Scotland College of Agriculture, has called for Scotland to have its own voice in Common Agricultural Policy dealings.
Mr Pack, Speaking at Farmers’ Question Time session at last weekend’s Royal Highland Show, said that Scotland would benefit if it had an independent voice at future CAP dealings.
“In terms of CAP Scotland needs a seat at the table; we need to argue our own case, because what is right for English agriculture isn’t what is right for Scottish agriculture.”
Jean Urquhart, Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, said:
“Mr Pack’s comments only add further weight to our argument that Scotland will only get the best deal when it represents itself at the negotiating table.
“There are obvious and natural differences between what is best for rural Scotland and what is best for rural England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The myopic deal-making of Westminster politicians has condemned Scotland in the past to receiving far less than its fair share. As an independent nation, we would hold far more influence and be able to secure an equitable solution for our farmers and crofters.”