New Regional Food Programme opens

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Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced that the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme (NIRFP) is to open for applications.

The 2017/18 Regional Food Programme, which is a DAERA-funded programme to help raise the profile of quality regional food, opened yesterday, Friday, January 20.

Miss McIlveen said: “This is an important and welcome funding programme within our food and drink sector that encourages collaboration between all sectors and representative bodies within the local food industry.”

In previous years, the programme has supported many local events and initiatives. In particular the programme offered in excess of £300,000 to 24 projects across Northern Ireland during the Year of Food and Drink 2016.

The Minister added: “It will ensure continued legacy of the successful ‘Year of Food and Drink 2016’ initiative during which the programme helped fund projects such as the Twilight Market at St George’s, the BBC Good Food Show and the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend and also assisted a number of local agricultural shows across Northern Ireland to introduce a local food exhibition as part of their offering.’’

Applications for projects taking place from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 will open on Friday. Closing date for completed applications is noon on February 14.

Applications are also welcomed for projects contributing to the legacy of the Year of Food and Drink 2016.

The aim of the programme is to promote quality regional food and to help increase its consumption by provision of financial support in three key areas - seminars/workshops, information programmes and regional fairs/exhibitions.

Scheme rules mean that only not-for-profit groups with a Northern Ireland membership, registered charities or not-for-profit regional development agencies that plan to deliver projects that raise the profile of NI regional food can apply.

Applications for collaborative ventures involving two or more eligible organisations working together to deliver the objectives of the Programme are encouraged.