Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced awards of £3.6million to 19 companies under the Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme.
The scheme, which opens for applications from Monday 26 November 2012, provides financial support up to £0.5million for capital investment in buildings and plant and equipment for business working in the agri food processing sector.
Speaking during a visit to Armagh business, Unimush Ireland Ltd, the Minister said: “Funding provided for investment in new buildings, plant and equipment will continue to help agri-food companies grow and remain competitive in the market place. The capital investments and our contribution has demonstrated how this can help local food processors to continue to develop and improve the economic performance of a sector that has shown good resilience during the recent economic downturn.”
During her visit to Unimush Ireland Ltd, a fresh mushroom sourcing, grading, prepacking and processing business, the Minister was able to see at first hand how investment made through the PMG Scheme in 2006 and now in 2012 had helped the company improve efficiency and quality through the constructionof a purpose built factory and the purchase of plant and equipment. This latest PMG award of £50,000 will help the company to invest in new grading and pre-packing mushroom equipment.
Seamus Cassidy, Director at Unimush Ireland Ltd, thanked the Minister for visiting the company to hear and see how they had grown since the first PMG award in 2006. He said: “Without the backing of the PMG Scheme and the confidence it gave us to move forward and improve the business, we would not be in the position we are today, where we now employ 50 people, having started with just five.”
Since the PMG Scheme started in July 2008, funding of £16.2million has been committed to 69 projects across the north. When the private sector funding contribution of 60% is taken on board, this equates to a total capital investment of close to £40milion.
The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) works in partnership with Invest NI in the delivery of the PMG Scheme.
Notes to editors:
1. The EU Agricultural and Forestry Processing & Marketing Grant Scheme (PMG) is a key Measure under Axis 1 of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
2. The PMG Scheme is open to sole traders through to intermediate sized enterprises (750 employees). Grant is awarded on a competitive basis and the maximum grant rate is 40%.
3. The first awards under the current scheme were made in 2008 and to date funding of £16.2million has been approved to 69 projects.
4. DARD works in partnership with Invest NI in the delivery of the PMG Scheme. Invest NI contributes towards the overall funding of the Scheme and are involved in the assessment and selection of projects.
5. The PMG Scheme will open for applications between 26 November and 11 January 2013.