Shropshire food producers and processors and horticulture businesses are being urged to submit applications for EU funding to help their organisations grow before the 2018 deadline.
Companies operating in the food sector including businesses involved in meat processing, yoghurt and cheese production, egg packing, food and drink processing and storage facilities, and dairy, fruit or grain production can apply for grants worth up to £170,000 to support their growth plans.
£3.5 million is on offer in the Marches for eligible businesses through DEFRA’s latest round of funding in its Growth Programme.
The grants are made by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF).
Funding could pay for constructing or improving buildings or buying new equipment and machinery. It will be awarded to projects that increase productivity, adopt new techniques, processes or innovations, and those that create business efficiencies, new jobs or new joint ventures and partnership working within a supply chain.
Grants can cover up to 40 per cent of eligible project costs with a minimum grant of £35,000 and a maximum grant of £170,000.
Roger Phillips, Chairman of the Marches ESIF committee, said: "An example of a typical project could be forming a co-operative of local meat producers to support a slaughter and processing business to expand its meat cutting and packing facilities.
"Food manufacturing is an important growth sector in the Marches and this funding could help many businesses unlock serious growth potential.
"Investment in the food and drink sector through infrastructure, equipment and machinery will create jobs and support supply chains that will in turn boost our economy across the Marches."
Expressions of Interest for funding bids must be submitted by January 2018. For more information and advice on how to apply, contact the Marches Growth Hub on 0345 6000 727 or email [email protected].