The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D, has confirmed that the LEADER Food Initiative, which provides funding support for new and existing artisan, micro and small food producers, will continue next year during the CAP transition period.
Minister McConalogue stated, “I am pleased that this important programme will continue next year, and that there will be an increase in the maximum rate of aid from 50% to 75% in line with changes to LEADER generally. This decision ensures that continued funding will be available to assist small food producers to develop new food offerings, new routes to sell their produce, and to support the rural economy at this critical time.”
Minister added, “I want to acknowledge that artisan and small food businesses have shown great innovation in adapting their operations to help connect with consumers during 2020. I would encourage small food producers to develop their plans now, to be ready to apply when the next round of applications opens in April 2021.”
The Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, commented, “The LEADER Food Initiative can provide supports to suppliers of local food markets, which play an important role in showcasing local food produce from local farmers, growers and food producers. I encourage those producers to avail of the funding opportunities under this Food Initiative, as well as the other State supports available for food entrepreneurs all over the country.”
The €15 million LEADER Food Initiative, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Rural Development Programme, will continue to support new and existing food and beverage producers in areas such as (1) market development, (2) competitiveness, and (3) innovation. A new call for applications will be launched in 2021, following on from an initial €5m call in 2018, for which approvals have been issued. The maximum amount of funding permitted is €200,000 per project.