New £1m fund for businesses investing in processing, marketing and developing agricultural products

A new EU fund aimed at food and farming businesses has been launched.

A new EU fund aimed at food and farming businesses has been launched. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Businesses wanting to invest in processing, marketing and developing agricultural products can apply for grants from a new £1million European fund announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Grants are available from £35,000 to £250,000 to micro, small and medium sized businesses for 40% of the total project cost. The fund opened in July and will close in October 2015.

John Fuller, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) new Food Drink and Agriculture (FDA) Board, said: “The food and drink sector is the largest part of the East Anglian economy with many large household-name firms driving employment and innovation and creating products enjoyed at home and abroad. This £1m grant fund represents the first of a number of calls that seek to transform the chances of smaller firms by providing up to 40% of the cost of investment in the processing, marketing or development of their food, drink or agricultural products.”

“The New Anglia FDA Board consists of experienced industry leaders from Norfolk & Suffolk focused on, amongst other things, making sure that European Union (EU) structural funds aimed at boosting the rural economy is spent wisely and creates jobs and investments that allow the rural areas to compete on the same terms as the largest cities.”

The £1m fund comes from the first round of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and is part of the £94m allocated to Suffolk and Norfolk from the European Structural Investment Fund. There will be further calls for businesses to apply for different types of funding between now and 2020.