LEADER Food Initiative Projects (For Artisan, Micro and Small Food Producers)

Funded under the 2014 – 2020 Rural Development Programme

by the Department of Rural and Community Development


  1. Introduction/Background to the measure:

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) are looking for applications from individuals, businesses and community groups 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.

This Scheme is separate and distinct from the inter-territorial co-operation and transnational co-operation Measures under LEADER.

  1. Details of the Call:

€15 million has been allocated specifically to the LEADER Food Initiative. This funding is been delivered using the LEADER methodology. There is still approximately 9.75 million left in this fund.

Comhar na nOileán CTR are again looking for Expressions of Interest and applications. (Closing Date: October 2020)

  1. Areas of Funding – LEADER Food Initiative Criteria:

This initiative aims to support new and existing food and beverage producers to address emerging challenges through investment in areas such as (1) market development, (2) competitiveness, and (3) innovation.

Support for food producers, may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Artisan1, Micro2 and Small3 food producers, including those with a focus on collaborative proposals, aimed at production quality and market issues;
  • Regional product development, including a focus on marketing distinctive local foodstuffs;
  • Marketing and processing for strategically identified sectors, including honey and apple processors;
  • Improved marketing, product quality and business skills through support for innovative collaborative processes and so address challenges to co-operation identified in studies on facilitating short supply chains e.g. entry barriers, the need for shared understanding, skills/training, and marketing and business skills deficits.
  • If the applicant is not a food business (e.g. an LDC) the project must deliver benefit to artisan1, micro2 and small3 food producers.
  1. 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 computers software and the acquisition of patents, licences, copyright or trademarks and second hand equipment
  1. Funding Limits

LAGs may not approve funding of less than €5,000 for a project. The maximum amount of funding permitted is €200,000 per project. The minimum a project must cost is €10,000 for an individual or business and €6,667 for a Community Group.

  1. Examples of FUNDED PROJECTS
  • Purchase of ovens and cooling racks for a bakery business.
  • Purchase of equipment to develop new product lines for a sausage manufacturer. Freezers, ice making machine, insulated panelling for storage areas.
  • Fruit process and market branded organic fruits for the local, national and export markets.
  • Demonstration kitchen to be developed as a learning environment. Chefs and nutritionists will work together to educate key target groups in the community about healthy food. The shared kitchen stations will be available for rent on a daily basis or for a block of time in order to commercially produce food products.
  • Purchase of equipment for ice-cream and chocolate factory. Includes marketing and branding.

Assistance towards the purchase of specialised items of equipment for a meat product producer – includes a sealer and a chopper.

  1. How to apply

Applications are managed through Comhar na nOileán CTR for the Donegal Islands, Mayo Islands, West Cork Islands and parts of the West Cork LAG area.

Contact Comhar na nOileán CTR 099 75096 [email protected] or get in touch with your Project Officer:

Joe Ó Curraoin                            Mary Lavelle                                Jude Gilbert

[email protected]                               [email protected]                         [email protected]