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Brexit: €100m innovative plan to upgrade Ireland’s food processing sector

DUBLIN: The Irish government has announced an innovative €100 million Scheme to help the food processing sector in the wake of Brexit. The new food processing plan was announced by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie Mc Conalogue.

Projects ranging from €1 million to a maximum of €25 million will be selected for the project. Maximum assistance is available up to 30% of the investment cost. Up to €5 million will be available as a maximum direct grant. The new Enterprise Ireland will be responsible for the processing and marketing of agricultural products. The scheme can benefit large and medium enterprises engaged in processing and marketing of meat and dairy products. Applications can be submitted in January.

The government is implementing the scheme as a way to help the agri-food sector. Additional funds have been provided in successive budgets to mitigate the impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries sectors. Low cost loan schemes, direct aid schemes for farmers, and additional resources for Bord Bia’s work to grow and develop new market opportunities for Irish food and drink are all part of government schemes aimed at this.

Leo Varadkar said the adverse effects of Brexit on the agri-food sector in Ireland should be foreshadowed. The government is here to help the farmers. In addition to existing grants, low-cost loans and training resources, the scheme will also provide assistance.

“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,” Mr. Varadkar said.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the agri-food sector is the largest indigenous sector in Ireland with export value of €14.5 billion last year. “The success of our sector is built on growing and developing new markets and market segments for the high-quality food our farmers, fishers and food producers make,” the minister said.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said the Scheme would be selected on a competitive basis. Dairy and meat enterprisers can apply under this scheme. “This fund will allow the primary food processing sector to make the necessary capital expenditure to increase their global diversification in response to Brexit,” the CEO said.

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