£1m micro food business scheme opens tomorrow in NI

A £1m capital grant scheme will open on Monday to help small Northern Irish food firms upscale production to secure new markets for their produce.

The aim of the Micro Food Business Investment Scheme is to enable firms that are processing primary agricultural produce to expand.

Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 will be made available to micro food and drink manufacturing businesses.

A micro enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs less than 10 full time equivalent employees with a total annual turnover of less than £1.8m.

The grants, which open for applications on Monday (8 March), will fund up to 50 percent of eligible costs.

Agriculture minister Gordon Lyons said the scheme would help stimulate economic growth and development for the local economy.

"This scheme will help stimulate economic growth and development for our local economy," the DAERA minister said.

"It is essential that the projects funded under this scheme provide direct benefits to the supply chain by improving commercial links between NI food processors and the farmers who produce the raw materials, particularly the local farmers and growers.”

The scheme's information booklet which details the priorities for the funding and the business and project eligibility criteria is available on the DAERA website.

Eligible businesses and projects under scheme may be located in a rural or urban area, but it is essential that the business is processing primary agricultural produce, particularly produce farmed or grown locally.

DAERA defines primary agricultural produce as red meat, pig meat, poultry meat, eggs, milk, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, or cereals and seeds.

Source: Faming UK