The European Commission has approved plans to give EUR911m (US$1.3bn) in subsidies to the UK to encourage the development of high-quality food products.

The money will go toward the spreading of information to relevant sectors through seminars, training, publications and newsletters including online tools.

The cash will also help fund market research, product design and conception, as well as the development of quality schemes through geographical indications, protected designations of origin and certificates of special character.

The scheme will be funded by a levy charged on various food products administered by a new Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

It replaces special sectoral levies and related promotion programmes for sub-sectors including potatoes, cereals and oilseeds, horticulture, pig meat, beef and lamb and milk.