Food & Drink producers can access RDPE funding and Countryside Productivity grants even if not ‘rural’ – but need to act fast!

13th March, 2018

I was tempted to try and fill this blog with lots of food and drink puns (as I understand this is how our Food and Drink team communicate when they meet up), but I won’t.

At our breakfast event last week and the Finance in the South West event a couple of weeks previously, the speaker from the Rural Payments Agency made the following points:

  1. They are dealing with a number of applications from Food and Drink producers (specific mention was made of micro-breweries)
  2. The food and drink production theme of the Growth Programme and the ‘Adding Value to Agri-food’ theme of Countryside Productivity grant scheme are not restricted to businesses based in a ‘rural’ area (as long as raw materials are sourced locally/Annexe I)
  3. The difference between the Growth Programme and Countryside Productivity offerings to food and drink producers, is that the latter places less emphasis on job creation (i.e. investment in machinery to make operations more efficient and produce more without necessarily creating direct employment at the food producer appears ok for the ‘Adding Value to Agri-food’ theme of Countryside Productivity grant scheme).

So, good news is an apparent appetite (sorry!) from the Rural Payments Agency to look at applications from food and drink producers; which is a good fit for South/South West with its excellent reputation for such businesses.

The not so good news is the deadlines for applications to be received are fast approaching:

Scheme / Theme Closing date for EOI
Growth Programme: Food Processing Closes 31.05.18
Countryside Productivity: Adding Value to Agri-food Closes 29.06.18

An overview of the two schemes and links to further information is set out below:

Growth Programme: Food Processing Countryside Productivity: Adding Value to Agri-food       
To support food and drink businesses that process agricultural or horticultural products to grow and create new jobs.

Grant funding can help pay for:

  • Constructing/improving buildings
  • Buying new equipment and machinery

How much money can be applied for?

Varies across LEP areas, for example but generally 40% of eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £35k.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

  • Up to 50% of eligible
  • Minimum grant of £50,000 in Cornwall and £10,000 on the Isles of Scilly.
  • Maximum grant of £1,000,000.
Grant funding can help pay for equipment or construction costs associated with all aspects of processing

Who can apply?

  • Processors of primary Agricultural or Horticultural products.
  • Includes businesses or farmers. Projects can be rural or urban.

What are the grants for?

  • Improving processing of primary agricultural products.
  • Shortening supply chains and delivering benefits to primary producers.

How much money can you apply for?

  • Up to 40% of eligible costs
  • Minimum £35,000 (max variable)
More details at – Food Processing Handbook More details at – Adding Value to Agri Food Handbook

Note you can only apply for one RDPE grant for each individual project.

The timelines for processing of applications is summarised as follows:

  • Appraisal and Decision on Expression of Interest – 30 workings days
  • Appraisal and Decision based on Full Application – 60 working days

If the timeframe works for you and if you have a ‘project’ that might fit with the eligibility criteria, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

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