The government has announced a €100 million scheme for the food processing sector, in recognition of its unique exposure to the impact of Brexit.

New market opportunities

The scheme is just one of the ways the Government is helping the agrifood sector. Additional funding has been provided over successive budgets to help the agrifood 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 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 2021.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “We know that Ireland’s agrifood sector is particularly exposed to the negative impact of Brexit. More than 173,000 people work in the agrifood 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.

Scheme on top of existing grants

“I know it’s a really worrying time for those working in our agrifood 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 agrifood 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 €100 million 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." 

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.

Production processes

Successful projects will be focused on the production of new and/or improved higher value added 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.