Funding of up to €200,000 made available for small food and drink businesses
Funding of €15m has been announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed through the ‘LEADER Food Initiative’.
The Initiative will provide financial supports, including for the renovation and extension of production facilities and the purchasing of processing equipment, as well as supporting participants in the artisan food and beverage sector in areas such as market development, competitiveness, and innovation.
The maximum amount of funding available is €200,000 per project and funding will be provided for both capital investment and softer supports related to analysis and development or training. This includes support for collaborative proposals where food businesses jointly address common processing and marketing challenges.
The initial tranche of €5m will be allocated in 2018. Based on the experience in delivering the initial tranche of funding, it is anticipated that the remaining €10m of this LEADER Food Initiative funding will be rolled out by 2020.
Announcing the scheme, Minister Ring said: “The LEADER Food Initiative will make a vital contribution to the development of local food businesses which are central to the economic sustainability of rural areas and an important source of local jobs.
"Many local artisan producers have wonderful products but require additional investment in production facilities, equipment, processing and marketing which can help them take the next step and bring their product to a wider market."
The LEADER Food Initiative will support investment in marketing, product quality and supply chain skills for these food producers.
Minister Creed said “Food Wise 2025, the strategy for the agri-food industry acknowledges the unique and important position of artisan and small food businesses in both the rural and national economy and the need to support the sector to realise its potential.