Government opens first call for €100 million Brexit scheme for agri-food

The first call for applications has been opened under the government’s €100 million scheme for the agri-food sector.

The scheme agreed by government at the end of 2020, has been established in recognition of the sector’s unique exposure to the impact of Brexit.

Up to €70 million is available under the first call, which is being administered by Enterprise Ireland.

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

Announcing the scheme, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “The trade deal agreed with the UK last December mitigated against a doomsday scenario for the agri-food sector; however, there is no doubt that Brexit will still have a significant impact.

“This fund, which will put €100 million investment into helping the sector adapt, diversify and innovate, is one of the ways we are helping the sector respond.

Agri-food production is a major employer here, employing more than 173,000 people. This fund will not only help secure these existing jobs, but will also help companies explore new technologies, creating new jobs.

The Tánaiste added that, in addition, low-cost loan schemes, direct aid for farmers, and additional resources from Bord Bia are also available to help the sector.

As with any public funding, detailed terms and conditions will apply to this scheme, which will be awarded by Enterprise Ireland on the basis of a competitive call.

Eligible companies are invited to submit applications from Wednesday, February 10, until the closing date on Thursday, April 15.

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.

All relevant documentation is now available on Enterprise Ireland’s website. A week of consultation and briefing will commence immediately.

Minister Charlie McConalogue also commented on the scheme, adding:

“Sustainability, competitiveness and innovation are vital so that our agri-food sector continues to grow existing and new markets.

“That often requires significant capital outlay and this new fund is designed to ensure that the food industry can invest now in projects that will underpin its sustainable development over the next decade.

The projects that will qualify for funding are focused on the future, supporting either new products and/or new market diversification strategies.

“I hope that the government’s support for these strategic investments will bring benefits for all those along the supply chain, particularly farmers as the primary producer of our food offering.”