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Gildernew announces new £21.5 million Grant Scheme

12 December, 2007


Sinn Féin Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has announced that the new Agricultural and Forestry Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) Scheme is now open for applications.

The new PMG scheme is worth £21.5million and forms part of the Rural Development Programme. The Minister made the announcement during a visit to projects in Co Armagh that have received previous PMG support.

The Minister said:

"I am very pleased to announce the new £21.5million PMG Scheme today. The scheme will assist economic growth and improve the competitiveness of the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors. It provides new opportunities to build a more sustainable rural economy, improve the quality of local life and reduce poverty.

"The new scheme will be available to a wide range of small to intermediate sized businesses who are either involved or wishing to become involved in the processing and marketing of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products. This includes processors, groups of producers and individual producers."

The PMG scheme encourages the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors to become more competitive, to respond to customer demand, to be more innovative and to add value to their produce. The scheme provides support towards capital investment including the construction of new buildings, the refurbishment of old buildings and the purchase of new equipment for the processing of primary products.

The Minister also welcomed the key role of Invest NI, operating in partnership with DARD, to deliver this scheme and said:

"This is an excellent example of how partnership in government can help improve the competitiveness of several sectors and thereby improve and enhance the quality of life of the rural dweller."

The Minister made the announcement during a visit to Hughes Mushrooms who were awarded over £110,000 from the previous PMG scheme. Established in 1965 Hughes Mushrooms is one of Ireland's most successful mushroom marketing companies. The money helped to finance the development of their facilities and the equipment required to process mushrooms including the provision of a new cutting area for slicing mushrooms, a new chill room, an extension to the packing and storage area and wrapping and labelling equipment.

The Minister also visited Glenbank Nurseries who received £81,740 of PMG funding.

NOTES TO EDITORS:


The Agricultural and Forestry Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) forms part of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The PMG scheme fits within Measure 1.2 of Axis 1 of the EAFRD and together with three other Measures aims to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors. The total value of the four Measures is £45.7million. It is the first Measure to open under Axis 1 of the Programme.

The PMG scheme offers financial assistance for capital investment for the improvement of the processing and/or marketing of agricultural and forestry products. In most cases the rate of grant will be 40% up to a maximum grant of £0.5million. Examples of activity are; erecting new buildings, refurbishment of old premises and the purchase of new equipment.

The Scheme is open to micro, small, medium and intermediate sized enterprises with less than 750 employees in the agricultural and horticultural sectors who are involved in processing and marketing including: processors, groups of producers who market their produce collaboratively and individual producers who want to process and market their own produce. In the case of the forestry sector the Scheme is limited to micro enterprises.

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