New crofting jobs will be created in the Western Isles thanks to additional funding from the Scottish Government.
The £325,000 investment will also provide opportunities for the Crofting Commission to extend its development activities, supporting the wider community.
Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“This is an unprecedented and challenging time as we continue to respond in the best way we can to coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect our rural communities.
“Being on the front foot is crucial and that is why we need to respond now to the economic challenges that lie ahead.
“Now more than ever it is vital that we support our rural and island communities and ensure crofters can continue to contribute to the long-term sustainability of crofting.
“This idea was raised at a meeting with crofters in Barvas, Isle of Lewis, last November and it was clear we need to work to create new job opportunities in the Western Isles and take action to support the community.
“These new jobs, which will based at the Rural Payments and Inspections Division offices in Stornoway and Benbecula, will bring a welcome boost to the local economy.
“I am determined to continue helping people in crofting areas, and support the Crofting Commission in delivering more development opportunities.”
NFU Scotland Vice President Charlie Adam, who sits on the Union’s Crofting, Highlands and Islands Committee (CHIC) added:
“The additional funding and creation of more jobs to support crofting is welcomed.
“The Crofting Commission is a vital cog in crofting and it needs to be properly resourced.
“The crofting development remit of the Commission has been on our committee agenda for quite some time and many of our crofting members have been important stakeholders in discussions with the Scottish Government and Crofting Commission about how best to deliver crofting priorities.
“Additional funding to expand the development role of the Commission is particularly positive, and will be essential to unlock opportunities for crofters.
“It will be a turbulent year ahead for farmers and crofters and we welcome the continued support from the Scottish Government to support this vital aspect of Scottish agriculture.”