Tractor in the outer Isles


Study to Look at Option for Skye & Lochalsh Abattoir

Friday, August 31, 2012

In 2011 Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) formed a working group to look at ways of providing an abattoir service for Skye and Lochalsh after a gap of over twenty years. Currently crofters and farmers in the region have to transport animals for slaughter to Dingwall, a journey of up to three and a half hours, or even take them by ferry to Lochmaddy. The Scottish Government has agreed to fund a study into options for funding, building and operating a small-scale slaughtering and processing facility which would be co-operatively owned and operated. The study will be carried out by a Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) team led by Portree-based senior consultant Siobhan Macdonald.

The aim of this study is to produce costed plans for a facility appropriate in scale and ownership structure, with a flexible operating strategy able to respond to seasonal demand. The resulting report and associated documents will be made freely available to other communities and groups of producers wishing to develop their own small-scale abattoir facilities.

The study is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2013 and the results will be posted on the SCF website shortly after, and this will be announced in the media.

Connecting Coastal Communities

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This exploratory work asks questions about the deeper nature of conflict that two separate Gaelic-speaking island communities - one in Ireland and one in Scotland - have become embroiled in during recent years. In 2012, both these communities find themselves actively opposing decisionmaking processes of government bodies whose remit is to protect aspects of the natural environment in which the island people live.

On both islands the fishermen believe that their livelihood and way of living is being threatened by powerful institutions who are not listening to them. On Barra the dispute centres around proposals by the Scottish Government’s nature conservation body, Scottish Natural Heritage, to designate two European marine conservation areas in waters off the island (one of which, at the time of writing in June 2012, has already been approved for designation by the Scottish Government while the other awaits a decision). Meanwhile on the Donegal islands, including Arranmore the dispute is about the Irish Government’s moratorium on drift-net fishing for salmon and on what the islanders feel are crippling restrictions that have been placed on their ability to to fish with nets in their local waters.


Direct Payments on Common Grazings

Thursday, August 09, 2012

1. Executive summary
Common grazings are important for the delivery of public goods in Scotland and for 20% of IACS businesses, concentrated especially in socio-economically Fragile Areas. Under the current implementation of direct payments, graziers on sole use and common grazings get the same reward for the same historic activity. Under the proposed reform of the CAP, it is likely that this will change - most common grazings users will lose out since the areas they can claim in IACS are less than they use in practice. On average common graziers will get only 2/3 of the payment per hectare grazed compared to their hill farming neighbours, but some claimants could lose 95% of their potential payment. At present an estimated 177,000 ha is managed but cannot be claimed by the graziers.


UK Food Sovereignty Declaration

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Transforming our food System.

We have come together to form a movement for Food Sovereignty in the UK Food Sovereignty is an alternative food system that creates practical, sustainable and democratic solutions to the failed industrial food model.