There will be an increase in the maximum rate of aid in the LEADER food initiative from 50% to 75% in 2021 during the CAP transition period, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

The €15m initiative is funded by the Department of Agriculture under the Rural Development Programme, providing support for new and existing artisan, micro and small food producers.

A new call for applications will be launched in April 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.

Showcasing produce

The transition will commence between the ending of the current 2014-2020 LEADER Programme and the start of the next EU CAP. New projects may be approved up until 31 December 2022.

Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said: “The initiative can provide supports to suppliers of local food markets, which play an important role in showcasing produce from farmers, growers and food producers.

“I encourage those producers to avail of the funding opportunities, as well as the other State supports available for food entrepreneurs all over the country.”

Eligible businesses are those with an annual turnover of up to €10m and employing fewer than 50 people. Payments for projects are made by the local action groups.

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