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January 4, 2021

Ireland sets up post-Brexit agri-food fund

The Irish government has announced a scheme for the country's food-processing sector to support manufacturers in the wake of the UK's departure from the EU.

By Dean Best

The Irish government has announced a scheme for the country’s food-processing sector to support manufacturers in the wake of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Dublin said it would provide funding worth EUR100m (US$122.7m) through a new “capital investment scheme for the processing and marketing of agricultural products”. The Enterprise Ireland agency is managing the initiative and applications open this month.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Tánaiste, or deputy head of government, 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. The Government is here to help.”

In 2019, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture industry generated exports worth EUR13bn, with 34% heading for the UK, according to figures from state agency Bord Bia.

Julie Sinnamon, the CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “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 scheme will … take the form of a competitive call. It is open to large, medium or small enterprises, engaged in the processing and marketing of primary meat and dairy products to apply. Successful projects will be focused on the production of new and/or improved, higher value-add 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.”

Quote, unquote – food industry reacts to Brexit trade deal between UK and EU

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