The state will invest € 70 million to help meat and dairy producers diversify their products and attract new markets in the wake of Brexit.
The 22 food projects and producers will receive direct funding for capital investments in their facilities, including upgrading ingredient processing systems.
Bandon Vale Cheese, T O’Regan & Sons in Clonakilty, Henry Denny & Sons in Charleville and Silver Hill Foods in Monaghan have all been approved for funding of 5 million euros each, the highest amount for a facility.
The capital investment program for the processing and marketing of agricultural products will help farmers and those working in food production to diversify their offer, to attract new markets and customers, making their business more resilient and sustainable in the long term. . The fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland.
Eight of the companies are located in the Munster region.
Ireland’s agricultural industry produces enough food to feed our population nine times as much and the sector employs nearly 165,000 people. However, the large volume of food exported to the UK has raised concerns, heightened in recent days by the UK government’s continued threat to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which could threaten the whole Withdrawal Agreement with the potential of a trade war. between UK and EU.
In such a scenario, Irish food exports could become a target of tariffs in much the same way that a long trade war between the EU and the US has impacted Irish butter.
“This 70 million euro funding will go directly to food producers and processors in the meat and dairy sectors to help them diversify and gain new customers after Brexit,” said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
“Brexit has caused enormous uncertainty for the sector and is a warning about the dangers of becoming too dependent on a certain market. Likewise, the need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining production levels is another challenge facing our food producers. ”
“We must take measures now that embrace new technologies, create new jobs and new business opportunities, protect rural communities and try to avoid increasing the cost of living. This fund aims to help food producers to make the transition, ”Mr. Varadkar said.
Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue said new product development and market diversification must go hand in hand.
“The 70 million euro investment that we are announcing today will help the industry, expand current markets and increase sales of higher value-added products in the global market, while maintaining our position as the global capital of the world. ‘sustainable food,’ he said.
The minister said it would be a priority for Irish food exporters to take advantage of opportunities in key international markets as global markets recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The key to these strategic investments is to bring benefits to all those along the supply chain, especially farmers as a critical primary producer who form the foundation of an export sector of 14 billion euros. “
Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said funding for the 22 projects will support investments of more than € 266 million in regional and rural Ireland.
“Our agri-food sector needs to focus more and more on sustainability, competitiveness and innovation to develop existing and new markets and the funding announced today will help achieve these important goals,” he said.
This 70 million euro investment is part of the 100 million euro program first announced on December 28, 2020. A new call under this program is expected at a later date.