€15 Million LEADER Food Initiative Launched

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The Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, have officially launched the LEADER Food Initiative a €15 million fund for the artisan/small food and beverage businesses.

The LEADER Food Initiative will provide financial supports, including for the renovation and extension of production facilities and 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 maximum amount of funding available is €200,000 per project and funding will be provided for both capital investment and softer supports related to analysis and development or training. This includes support for collaborative proposals where food businesses jointly address common processing and marketing challenges.

The initial tranche of €5 million will be allocated in 2018. Based on the experience in delivering the initial tranche of funding, it is anticipated that the remaining €10 million of this LEADER Food Initiative funding will be rolled out by 2020.

Announcing the scheme, Minister Ring said: “The LEADER Food Initiative will make a vital contribution to the development of local food businesses which are central to the economic sustainability of rural areas and an important source of local jobs. Many local artisan producers have wonderful products but require additional investment in production facilities, equipment, processing and marketing which can help them take the next step and bring their product to a wider market.

The LEADER Food Initiative will allow for the provision of financial supports for the renovation and extension of production facilities and the purchasing of processing equipment. This type of investment, and a strong focus on improved skills, can make all the difference in creating a successful, sustainable business.

The LEADER Food Initiative will support investment in marketing, product quality and supply chain skills for these food producers. There will also be a focus on marketing distinctive local and regional food products. I have no doubt that this Initiative will provide a huge boost to the food sector and help improve the marketing and delivery of the wonderful food products that we have. There is significant local, national and international demand for Irish artisan food and the LEADER Food Initiative will enable producers to get their product to a wider market.

This initiative will complement existing supports for artisan and small food businesses including Food Works, developed by Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland for start-up food entrepreneurs; and retailer programmes, for example SuperValu’s Food Academy. Bord Bia has a dedicated website, HERE , with detailed information on the supports and opportunities for small food businesses.

The LEADER Food Initiative will be implemented and managed in Leitrim by the Local Action Group, Leitrim Development Company. Artisan and small food businesses are encouraged to contact their Local Action Group to discuss the funding opportunities available under the LEADER Food Initiative as soon as possible.

You can contact Leitrim Development Company on 0719641770 or email info@ldco.ie

You can also visit the Leitrim Development Company website HERE for more information about LEADER funding.

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