Grants for Food & Drink Sector

5th November 2019

The next round of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) has been launched (1st  November 2019), covering many of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in the country.

RDPE provides funding for projects in England that create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Under the RDPE Growth Programme there are grants for business development, food processing, and rural tourism infrastructure. The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), and are delivered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). 

This blog focuses on the Food & Drink Processing sector but details of business development and rural tourism support can be found on the same link below.  

  • Who can apply? Food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products (e.g. meat, milk, grain, root vegetables and soft fruit). Any size business can apply, but priority is given to SMEs.
  • Eligible expenditure?  Constructing or improving buildings, new equipment and machinery. 
  • How much? This depends on each LEP area and the type of products that you produce (referred to as Annex 1 or non-Annex 1).  The minimum grant award starts at £20,000 up to a maximum of £750,000 in some LEP areas. De Minimis State Aid rules apply with a maximum 40% intervention rate but other State Aid rules can be applied in certain cases at a 20% maximum. For instance, in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, intervention rates of 50% are possible and large businesses without an agricultural holding number can apply for up to 25% of eligible costs for NEW economic activity.
  • Outputs? Satisfy local LEP priorities and achieve at least two of – create new jobs (at least 1 FTE for every £30,000 grant), increase turnover & profitability, improve productivity, provide direct benefits to local farmers and growers, create new links between growers and processors, and sell more products locally, nationally or through exports.

Unlike the business development and rural tourism elements of the RDPE scheme, which are postcode sensitive, it is possible for a food & drink processor to be located in an urban area provided they can demonstrate a benefit to rural areas.
The application process is in two parts, typically taking between 5-6 months. There is an Expression of Interest deadline of 16th February 2020 and final claims submitted by 30th September 2021, subject to availability of funds. Further details can be found here. 

To discuss this or other potential grant and funding opportunities, contact Ewan McClymont, Grant Services Director.


Keep up to date

Key contacts

Related services

Related sectors