Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced approval for a scheme which will provide €45 million in funding for capital investment projects in seafood processing enterprises.
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The scheme is based on a recommendation of the Seafood Taskforce which was established by Minister McConalogue to assess the impacts of Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the fishing sector and coastal communities.
The Taskforce recommended that the sector be provided with a stimulus to drive transformational change and thereby overcome constraints arising from Brexit and incentivise change through the provision of graduated grant aid rates for capital investment projects in the industry.
This scheme is proposed for funding under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
Announcing the approval of the scheme, the Minister said: “Our Seafood Processors are of vital importance for our coastal communities, sustaining over 4,000 jobs and supporting the local economies in which they operate.
"I am pleased to announce that this new scheme will introduce significant levels of support to enable processors develop their enterprises, navigate the challenging trading environment and support jobs in the seafood sector.”
In line with the Taskforce recommendation, the scheme is designed to provide greater levels of funding to those capital investment projects which result in higher value-added activities. It will, in particular assist seafood processors seeking to move away from commodity production to the production of higher value-added products.
It will also help and to those seeking to diversify their product offering and enter new markets. Funding will also be available for seafood processors seeking to improve environmental performance and those aiming to achieve greater production efficiencies.
An Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will be administering the scheme, and the Minister has requested that BIM open its call for applications as soon as possible. Due to the time limitations placed on BAR funding, investment projects must be completed before the end of 2023 to qualify for funding. ■
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