€100m Brexit scheme is now open

Companies in the agri-food sector can avail of funding to invest in new products and market diversification as Brexit has meant changes to the industry.

The €100m scheme was agreed by the Government at the end of 2020 and has been established in recognition of the sector’s unique exposure to the impact of Brexit. Up to €70m is available under the first call, which is being administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is open to large, medium or small enterprises, engaged in the processing and marketing of primary meat and dairy products to apply.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue opened the first call for applications.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “The trade deal agreed with the UK last December mitigated against a doomsday scenario for the agri-food sector, however there is no doubt that Brexit will still have a significant impact. This fund, which will put €100m investment into helping the sector adapt, diversify and innovate, is one of the ways we are helping the sector respond.”

He added: “Agri-food production is a major employer here, employing more than 173,000 people. This fund will not only help secure these existing jobs, but will also help companies explore new technologies, creating new jobs.

“This is just one of the ways the Government is helping the agri-food sector. Low cost loan schemes, direct aid for farmers, and additional resources from Bord Bia are also available to help the sector at this really challenging time.”

Minister Charlie McConalogue stated: “Sustainability, competitiveness and innovation are vital so that our agri-food sector continues to grow existing and new markets. That often requires significant capital outlay and this new fund is designed to ensure that the food industry can invest now in projects that will underpin its sustainable development over the next decade. The projects that will qualify for funding are focused on the future, supporting either new products and/or new market diversification strategies.”

CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon said: “This is a very timely fund that supports the future product and market diversification of the agri-food sector at a particularly challenging time. The challenges and opportunities facing Irish food include the fundamental change in our trading relationship with our largest market, the UK, opportunities in other markets and in sustainable food production.

“Having access to a capital investment fund will accelerate transformational investments by companies in the sector to ensure that these challenges and opportunities are addressed, that Irish food continues to be highly valued in export markets and is produced in a sustainable way.”

Eligible companies are invited to submit applications from Wednesday 10 February until the closing date on Thursday 15 April.