Final call on capital grants for agri-food processors

The View from Northern Ireland: A final call for applications to a processing and marketing grants (PMG) assistance scheme has been made.

The PMG scheme is an important part of the NI Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 and provides capital grants assistance to local agri-food processing businesses in the region. This is the final call for applications as the programme is due to close on 31 March 2015.

Speaking on foot of the final call, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “This popular scheme is all about helping to develop and improve the economic performance of the agri-food processing sector. Since opening in December 2007 the scheme has awarded support of £18.6m sterling to 88 agri-food processing businesses across the North. Taking into account a private sector contribution of 60 per cent this equates to a total investment of around £46.5m. It is clear that over the years the scheme has greatly assisted both the sector and economy.”

DARD, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is keen to encourage small processors to take part in the Scheme and in recent years it has made a number of administrative changes to help simplify the application and assessment process, for example, there is no longer a requirement to submit a business plan for projects seeking under £50,000 sterling grants.

“To make best use of the limited budget and timeframe to closure of the scheme, grants of up to £250,000 sterling per approved project are available for the purchase of plant and equipment and/ or minor building alterations,” the minister added. “I hope all in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry processing sectors will welcome this final opportunity under the current programme to avail of financial support.”

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