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The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development Martin Heydon TD today launched the second call for applications under the Government’s €100m Scheme for the agri-food sector.
The Scheme, introduced by Government at the end of 2020, has been established in recognition of the sector’s unique exposure to the impact of Brexit and other global trading challenges.
Up to €30m is available under this second call, which is being administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is open to large, medium and small enterprises, engaged in the processing and marketing of primary meat and dairy products.
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said:
“Irish companies, including companies in the agri-food sector, prepared remarkably well for Brexit and as a result of their resilience, we managed to avoid the worst-case scenario we once feared.
“However, we do not take that hard-work for granted. Such a fundamental change in our trading relationship with our largest export market has had really significant consequences and the Government has been and will continue to be, on hand to help the more than 173,000 people that work in the agri-food sector to adapt, diversify and innovate in a sustainable way.
“The first call under this Scheme saw 22 projects approved for €70m funding. This investment went into businesses across the country, to develop new products for new customers and new markets. From helping Slaney Foods in Wexford increase the capacity of its frozen food offering so it could send its product further afield, to supporting Glanbia to diversify away from cheddar to other cheeses such as Gouda, more suited to Chinese and Japanese markets, this funding has made a real difference.
“Today we’re announcing a further call, for €30m, which I hope will be a further boost to Irish agri-food business, helping them continue to compete and win in international markets creating further jobs across the country.”
Minister Charlie McConalogue TD, stated:
“The €100m capital fund for the agri-food industry is about futureproofing our world-class agri-food industry. The Government is assisting companies to make the capital investment now that will pay dividends in the years ahead and allow them to develop new products and enter new markets.
“The agri-food sector internationally is changing rapidly, with an enhanced consumer demand for sustainable production.
“The Scheme will enable food processing companies become more operationally resilient through the pursuit of product/market diversification strategies which complement the ambition set out in Food Vision 2030, Ireland’s 10-year plan for the agri-food sector. A more competitive meat and dairy processing sector will help to support the economic, environmental and social sustainability of farmers as our primary producers.
“I look forward to seeing this scheme deliver greater returns to our farm families who are the bedrock of our great sector.”
Minister Martin Heydon, with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development said:
“To ensure we continue to position Irish produce in the highest value markets and obtain the best possible return for our farmers, the Government has intensified efforts to improve access to existing markets and to develop new ones. Developing these new markets, with different cuisines and consumer preferences, offers opportunities to add value to Ireland’s safe, nutritious, and appealing food offering. Through this scheme we are supporting agri-food companies to take advantage of these opportunities which in turn will benefit primary producers.”
CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Leo Clancy said:
“This important fund is already accelerating transformational investments by companies in the agri-food sector, with approvals for 22 projects made to date. This is a particularly challenging time for the sector and ensuring companies have the capability to invest now for the future is important to ensure that world-renowned Irish food products continue to be highly valued in export markets and produced in a sustainable way.”
A webinar for prospective applicants hosted by Enterprise Ireland will be held on Monday 5 September and all documentation will be available on Enterprise Ireland’s website.
Companies can make enquiries to CIS@enterprise-ireland.com
Eligible companies are invited to submit applications from Monday 12 September until the closing date on Friday 11 November at 5.30pm.
Notes to Editor
The nature of the EU State aid approval for this scheme limits eligibility to enterprises engaged in the processing and marketing of ‘Annex 1’ agricultural products (meat and dairy) only.
The Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will take the form of a competitive call. It is open to large, medium and 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 per project.