27 July 2015 14:00
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Growth Programme is Open for Business
The first phase of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Growth Programme is now open for business in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The EAFRD Growth Programme, which is part of the wider Rural Development Programme, is worth £9.4m and will run alongside the wider EU Growth Programme from 2014 – 2020.
Through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Investment (EAFRD) there is the ambition to remove barriers to growth by supporting improvements in competitiveness, increasing innovation, building efficiencies across the food and non-food supply chain and providing local business support.
The Agri-food sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly covers a whole range of activities, including production, processing, retailing and hospitality. It employs around 11% of the population, and if wider retail and accommodation business is included the figure rises to around 30%, which makes it a vital element of the local economy representing over 6% of total GVA (gross value added).
The EAFRD Growth Programme funding opportunities will be announced through a series of ‘calls’, the first of which is for SME support - investments that add value to primary agricultural and horticultural products– and has been published on the 27/07/15, The total value of this call is £2.5 million and applications for grants of between £35,000 and £1,000,000 million in Cornwall and between £10,000 and £1,000,000 on the Isles of Scilly are expected. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/european-structural-investment-funds/sme-support-call-in-cornwall-and-the-isles-of-scilly-05rd15bs0001
Applications are sought from micro, small and medium sized enterprises in rural and urban areas that are seeking grant assistance for investments in processing and/or development of agricultural products. All projects must be located in CIOS.
The aim of this call is to help farmers, growers and food processing businesses grow and develop existing markets and expand into new markets. Applicants must demonstrate how their project provides direct economic benefits to the CIOS area including the creation of new jobs and increased productivity. Applicants must show how the farmers and growers that supply the raw materials will directly benefit from the project. Micro, small and medium sized businesses can apply for these grants if they process Annex 1 agricultural and horticultural products. The exception is fisheries products, which are not eligible for these grants.
It is expected that the EAFRD Growth Programme will build on the previous investments made during the 2007 to 2014 Rural Development and Convergence Programmes. Vital infrastructure such as Superfast Cornwall, the development of the Penryn Campus, various large and small scale processing projects and the trio of Innovation Centres were complemented with a suite of skills and business support packages which helped develop local people and business.
Julian German, Member of the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) Board which is responsible for overseeing the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Programme, said:
"The launch of the first call for the EAFRD Growth Programme will provide opportunities for our rural community to access funding streams. We will work hard with partners and applicants to ensure this round of European Union funding achieves all that it can."
Chris Pomfret, Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and the ITI Board said:
"Our region is renowned for the quality of its produce and this £2.5 million of EU funding is available to help food processors in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly boost the performance of their businesses. Cornwall Development Company can help with applications and I would urge businesses to make use of this support."
Cllr Amanda Martin, Chairman, Council of the Isles of Scilly, said:
"The Council of the Isles of Scilly will support our small scale food and drink producers on Scilly to access the EAFRD funding to support the improvement in quality and quantity of food and drink produced on the islands. We particularly welcome the reduced grant levels available on the islands."
Andrew May of the Cornwall Agri-food Council (CAC), said:
"Adding as much value to local primary produce in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has always been a strategic priority of the CAC. We welcome this call as it will help the Agri-food sector to increase its contribution to our overall economy."
David Rodda, Rural Delivery Manager for Cornwall Development Company (CDC), said:
"As part of Cornwall Council’s commitment to support economic development in the Agri-food sector, CDC has been tasked with assisting businesses to develop their applications for this fund and interested parties should contact me on 01872 324649 or email@example.com to discuss their project ideas."