A total of €557,408 has been approved for 12 LEADER Food Initiative projects, which have been independently recommended for approval by the Local Action Groups (LAG).

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, approved the funding today (Wednesday, November 12).

The LEADER Food Initiative aims to support the further development of food and drink businesses throughout rural Ireland by providing up to €15 million funding over the next two years.

The funding covers the renovation and extension of production facilities, 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 initiative is managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development, with funding provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The projects approved to receive the funding are as follows:
  • Hodgins Sausages, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, €156,586.50;
  • Harty Nutrition, Farranfore, Co. Kerry, €120,050.00;
  • McNiffe’s Bakery, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, €71,312.50;
  • Kellys of Newport Artisan Butchers, Newport, Co. Mayo, €57,500.00;
  • Waterford County Festival of Food, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, €33,048.15;
  • Balla Community Resource Development, Balla, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, €31,256.01;
  • West Limerick Resources, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, €29,976.00;
  • Nicole Dunphy, Pandora Bell, Ballysimon, Co. Limerick, €19,374.37;
  • The No Nonsense Food Company, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, €13,666.23;
  • Frank Hederman, Cobh, Co. Cork, €9,617.50;
  • Clonakilty Chocolate / Exploding Tree, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, €8,573.10;
  • Ellen Lewis Hanley, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, €6,448.28.

Commenting on the funding allocation, Minister Ring said: “The food and drinks sector is one of Ireland’s most innovative, indigenous industries and is a vital source of employment in rural areas.

“The range of approved projects reflects the diversity of food businesses operating throughout rural Ireland.

In addition to the investment provided directly to food businesses, funding is also being provided to collective initiatives that support the overall development of the food sector in different regions.

Also welcoming the allocation of the funding, Minister Creed added: “I am delighted to provide over €550,000 in funding for these diverse and exciting, micro and artisanal food businesses around Ireland.”

Creed concluded by encouraging other small, micro and artisanal food businesses to avail of the scheme into the future.