Government announces €100 million Brexit scheme for food processing sector

A new €100 million scheme for the food processing sector has been announced today (Monday, December 28), in recognition of its 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.

It is “open to large, medium or small enterprises, engaged in the processing and marketing of primary meat and dairy products” to apply.

Speaking today, the Tánaiste 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.”

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue added that 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,” he said.

“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.”

Scheme details

The scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will take the form of a competitive call.

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”.

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.