Food processing grant scheme opens in Wales

Farm businesses in Wales who want to add value by processing their own products can apply for grant aid under the Food Business Investment Scheme (FBIS).

The Welsh government is inviting expressions of interest (EOI) for the scheme which offers grants to people wanting to start producing products including cheese, flour, yoghurt, ready meals, animal feed and pet food products.

The level of grant varies according to the product being made and the size of the enterprise, but ranges between 20% and 40% of total investment costs, with a maximum value of £150,000.

See also: Guide to Defra’s growth programme diversification grants

The money can be used to pay for tangible assets such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment along with intangible assets such as computer software, patent rights, licences and consultancy fees.

Grants can also be used to improve and develop existing processing facilities.

However, a key condition of the scheme is that where a mix of ingredients is used to produce a product, at least 90% must be eligible agricultural products sourced from within the EU.

Application process

The application process for the FBIS is in two stages.

Applicants are first asked to complete the EOI and only if this is successful will they be invited to the second stage, which is to submit a full application.

The closing date for EOIs is 19 September 2017.

It is expected that there will be significant demand for the grant available and applications will be judged on a competitive basis.

The government has already indicated that it only expects to ask for about 30 full applications.

Tourism grants

The Micro Small Business Fund (MSBF) is also available in Wales, which offers grant support for small businesses investing in the tourism sector.

Support of between £25,000 and £500,000 will be considered for projects delivering high-quality, luxury accommodation in a way that helps to help build areas as destinations for visitors.

For example, it suggests that anyone seeking support for self-catering accommodation should already have – or be seeking to achieve –a minimum of three units or 12-bed spaces.

Preference will also be given to applicants with hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping and caravanning sites who are targeting a four- or five-star quality rating.

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