A plan to provide €45 million ($46.9 million) for capital investment projects in seafood processing businesses across Ireland has been approved by Ireland’s Minister for Health. Agriculture, Food and Navy Charlie McConalogue.
According to the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the new scheme is based on a recommendation from a Seafood Task Force set up by McConalogue to assess the impacts of Brexit and the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement on the fisheries sector and coastal communities.
With the sector facing significant challenges since Brexit, including reduced supply and reduced access to markets, the task force recommended providing a stimulus to drive transformational change and overcome the constraints that have arisen, and to provide graduated rates of assistance for capital investment projects in the industry. In particular, the program will help seafood processors looking to transition from producing commodities to producing higher value products. It will also help those looking to diversify their product offering and enter new markets. Funding will also be available for seafood processors seeking to improve their environmental performance and those aiming to increase production efficiency.
“Our seafood processors are vitally important to our coastal communities, supporting over 4,000 jobs and bolstering the local economies in which they operate. I am pleased to announce that this new program will introduce significant levels of support to enable processors to grow their businesses, navigate the challenging business environment and support jobs in the seafood industry,” said McConalogue. “I believe this program will greatly help processors to adapt quickly, to become more sustainable both commercially and environmentally. Thanks to the support offered, processors will be able to invest in innovative equipment, diversify their product lines and reach interesting new markets. »
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) will administer the program and McConalogue requested that BIM open its call for applications as soon as possible. Investment projects must be completed before the end of 2023 to be eligible for funding.
“These investments will enable Ireland to maintain its reputation as a source of premium seafood, protect food supply chains in uncertain times, develop coastal economies and preserve the natural environment” , said McConalogue.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Sea