CROFTING'S PLACE in Europe will be the theme of the Scottish Crofting Federation 2017 Annual Gathering, being held on March 10 and 11 in Applecross, Wester Ross.

The event aims to set a crofting agenda for the upcoming Brexit negotiations and a post-Brexit agricultural policy that is fit for crofting.

“The importance of the topic is reflected in the attendance of two members of the Scottish Government's Cabinet,” said SCF chair Russell Smith. “On Friday the Cabinet Secretary responsible for crofting, Fergus Ewing MSP, will officially open the gathering with an address placing crofting in the context of Scotland’s rural development. On Saturday Dr Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, will open the day and the session on generating priorities for the Brexit agenda.

“Among other speakers will be Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, researcher on rural development and small farmers; Gwyn Jones, from the European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism; and speakers from the activist organisations European Coordination La Via Campesina, ARC2020 and the Swedish Association for Transhumance and Pastoralism, who will address the need for food sovereignty and collective action.

“As in previous events organised by SCF, there will be space for grass-root views and perspectives – the ‘voice from the fank'," Mr Smith concluded. “Group discussions on Saturday morning will be organised to generate action points and prioritise the issues that Scottish Government should be pressing for on behalf of crofters, crofting and Scotland.”