Government Announce €100m Brexit Scheme for Agri-food Sector

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Funding to invest in new products & market diversification

28 December 2020 The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie Mc Conalogue T.D. today announced a new €100m Scheme for the food processing sector, in recognition of the sector’s unique exposure to the impact of Brexit.

The new Capital Investment Scheme for the Processing and Marketing of Agricultural Products will be managed by Enterprise Ireland and will open for applications in January. The Scheme is just one of the ways the Government is helping the agri-food sector. Additional funding has been provided over successive budgets to help the agri-food and fisheries sectors mitigate the impact of Brexit; including the provision of low cost loan schemes, direct aid schemes for farmers, and additional resources for Bord Bia’s work to grow and develop new market opportunities for Irish food and drink.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said:

“We know that Ireland’s agri-food sector is particularly exposed to the negative impact of Brexit. More than 173,000 people work in the agri-food industry here. Not only do we want to protect those existing jobs as we weather the Brexit storm, but we also want to grow them. This funding is to allow businesses invest in new technology and new products, making the sector stronger and more resilient.

“I know it’s a really worrying time for those working in our agri-food sector. The Government is here to help. This Scheme is on top of the existing grants, low cost loans and training resources that are available.”

Minister Charlie McConalogue said:

“Our agri-food sector is the largest indigenous sector in Ireland with export value of €14.5 billion last year. The success of our sector is built on growing and developing new markets and market segments for the high-quality food our farmers, fishers and food producers make. In the context of Brexit, the need for productive investment in the food processing sector has taken on added significance.

“This €100m support scheme will assist our food processors to diversify their product ranges and markets in order to best support their export activity and our country’s primary producers.

“Working with my colleague, Minister-of-State Martin Heydon TD, who has specific responsibility for new market development, we have a particular focus in 2021 to advance market access for Irish food exports to key international markets, in collaboration with Bord Bia and our Embassy network,” Minister McConalogue said.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said:

“I welcome the launch of this fund by an Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar and Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Minister Charlie McConalogue. The food sector is the largest sector of Irish enterprise and critical to regional employment and prosperity. This fund will allow the primary food processing sector to make the necessary capital expenditure to increase their global diversification in response to Brexit.”

The Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will take the form of a competitive call. It is open to large, medium or small enterprises, engaged in the processing and marketing of primary meat and dairy products to apply.

Successful projects will be focused on the production of new and/or improved higher value add products, and/or production processes, required for new markets, and not principally focused on the processing of increased volumes of raw materials.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that the investment underpins sustainable food production, at both farm and processor level, and contribute to balanced, sustainable regional development. All investments under the scheme will comply with national and EU legislative and regulatory environmental requirements and standards.

Eligible projects must have total eligible capital expenditure of at least €1 million, up to a maximum of €25 million. The maximum aid intensity will be up to 30% of the eligible investment costs, up to a maximum direct grant of €5 million.

END