The final call for applications to the €5m LEADER food initiative has been issued, aimed at helping artisan, micro and small food businesses respond to the dual challenges posed by Brexit and COVID-19.

The call for applications came in a joint statement from Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett.

Minister McConalogue was keen to encourage eligible businesses to avail of the increased rate of funding for investment.

Great resilience

“I hope that the increased maximum rates of aid will encourage these food businesses, who have shown great resilience during the past year, to apply for this funding support.

“Following on from my announcement last year on extending the measure into 2021, I am pleased that applicants with eligible projects under this call can be eligible for consideration for the increased maximum funding limit now increased from 50% to 75%.

“The €5m funding now made available will help support farmers and food enterprises to develop premium, sustainable outlets for their products on the Irish market.”

No closing date for applications has been specified, allowing approvals to be made until 31 December 2022, should the total submissions sum remain within the €5m budget.