Friday, March 9th 2012
Funding for agri-food enterprises will help create and protect jobs
Fine Gael TD for Wicklow/East Carlow, Andrew Doyle, has today said that €5 million in funding being provided by the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, for the development of agri-food enterprises will help to support and create jobs in rural Ireland.
“Irish agriculture is thriving, and the Government has introduced a range of measures to ensure the sector continues to flourish. Minister Hogan’s announcement that €5 million is being provided to specifically support agri-businesses in rural areas is a significant boost to the sector.
“It is estimated that the funding will create more than 200 jobs directly, as well as sustaining many other jobs in the sector.
“Agriculture plays such an important role in supporting livelihoods and creating employment in rural areas and many enterprises in rural Ireland are focused on food and food-related businesses. They are an essential driver of economic activity and employment. This funding will help to fully realise the huge potential on offer in rural areas. By supporting local enterprises we are creating a powerful force for job creation.
“Ireland has become a world leader in the agri-food sector and this Government is committed to supporting the industry to the full. The artisan food sector, which will benefit from this funding, has massive potential and an ever growing market.
“There is not only a growing demand for high-quality, locally-produced products here at home, there is also huge potential for these businesses to expand into the lucrative export market. Irish food and drink exports hit an all-time high of €8.9 billion last year, and I believe we can reach an even higher figure in 2012.
“The funding is being provided under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) and will bridge the gap that was left after this type of funding was suspended under the Business Creation and Development Measure of the RDP in early 2011. It will be delivered using the ‘bottom up’ LEADER approach through the 35 Local Development Companies contracted to deliver the RDP.
“If you are interested in this funding, you should contact your Local Development Company; contact details for all companies contracted to deliver the RDP in Ireland can be found at www.environ.ie.”