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Gildernew visits Fivemiletown Creamery

9 January, 2008


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, visited Fivemiletown Creamery in Co. Tyrone. She also highlighted the role of the Department's Agricultural and Forestry Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) Scheme.

She was met by Managing Director Mervyn McCaughey who introduced the Minister to the creamery staff and took her on a tour of the factory.

During the visit the Minister said:

"Fivemiletown Creamery is an excellent example of a local milk processing co-operative researching the market and diversifying into high value speciality cheeses. These cheeses are unique and have won many awards both here and internationally."

"The dairy industry has come through a difficult period and although milk prices paid to dairy farmers are higher now than they have been in recent years, we need companies like Fivemiletown to produce a range of premium products and help secure the future of the industry."

One of the department's aims is to improve the economic performance and competitiveness of the agri-food and forestry sectors. Fivemiletown Creamery previously received £362,000 funding under the Department's Agricultural and Forestry Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) Scheme towards the cost of expanding and upgrading their cheese and whey processing facilities.

The new EU Agricultural and Forestry PMG scheme, was opened for applications on 12 December 2007. The scheme is worth £21.5million and forms part of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme.

The Minister said:

"The new scheme will be available to a wide range of small to intermediate-sized businesses that 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.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. Fivemiletown Creamery is owned by Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Dairy Society. It was established in 1898 and is wholly owned by local dairy farmers.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:a. processors; b. groups of producers who market their produce collaboratively; c. 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.
  6. DARD will work with Invest NI in the delivery of the PMG Scheme.

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