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Food Initiative: €15 million in supports for Artisan, Micro and Small Food Businesses

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) are jointly issuing a ‘Call’ for applications from project applicants wishing to receive grant aid under the LEADER Food Initiative (for Artisan1, Micro2 and Small3 food producers). These project applications must be submitted through the Local Action Groups (LAGs) whose Local Development Strategies have been approved for LEADER funding under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 and Regulation (EU) No. 1305/2013.


Eligibility of Enterprises

To be eligible, a business must be one of the following:

  1. Artisan’ businesses are micro-enterprises with turnover up to €2m, employing fewer than 10 people and producing food in limited quantities using skilled craftspeople.  (FSAI Guidance Note The Use of Food Marketing Terms (Guideline No. 29))
  2. Micro’ businesses are enterprises which employs fewer than ten persons (or whole time equivalents) and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2 million. (Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC).
  3. Small’ businesses are enterprises with turnover up to €10m, employing fewer than 50. (as per Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC).


Eligible Costs:

The costs that are eligible for funding are the same as for all other projects in accordance with the LEADER Operating Rules. For example, this would include support for:

  • the construction, acquisition or improvement of immovable property;
  • the purchase of new machinery and equipment;
  • intangible investments such as the development of computer software and the acquisition of patents, licences, copyrights or trademarks; and,
  • second-hand equipment as per section 14.4 of the LEADER Operating Rules


See Section 6.4 of the Operating Rules, in particular, for further details as regards eligible and ineligible costs.


Funding Limits:

The maximum amount of funding permitted is €200,000 per project and the funding rates are as set out in Section 9.2 of the LEADER 2014 – 2020 Operating Rules Consolidated updated Version 2.


Details of the Call:

€15 million has been allocated specifically to the LEADER Food Initiative. This funding will be delivered using the LEADER methodology. The initial tranche of €5 million will be allocated in 2018. Based on the experience in delivering the initial tranche of funding, it is anticipated that the remaining €10 million of this LEADER Food Initiative funding will be rolled out by 2020.


LAGs should decide on the funding applications for LEADER Food Initiative projects in the same way as for all other LEADER project applications. The project applications selected by the LAG will be considered for approval on a first come/first served basis by DRCD and DAFM under three tranches as follows:

  • 1st Call from 01st May to 29th June 2018
  • 2nd Call from 30th June 2018 to 28th September 2018
  • 3rd Call from 29th September to 30th November 2018.

The schedule for future calls will be announced at a later stage.


All applications to be submitted through your Local Action Groups (LAG) to will be reviewed collectively shortly after the end date of each tranche of the call.