The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced the opening of the Organic Processing Investment Grant Scheme (OPIG).
The scheme has a budget of €1.7m, co-financed from the National Exchequer and through the European Commission’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve, to support investments in the Irish organic processing sector.
It provides funding to processors who wish to invest in developing facilities for the processing, preparation, grading, packing and storage of organic products.
The scheme strives to “facilitate the development of the organic sector as to ensure a regular supply of high-quality organic produce to the market”.
The DAFM will direct financial assistance towards projects which:
- Improve the organic sector and provide the producers of the basic product with an opportunity of enhancing income;
- Help to guide production in line with foreseeable market trends or encourage the development of new outlets for agricultural products;
- Help to improve production, handling and preparation of organic produce;
- Facilitate the adoption and application of new technologies;
- Help to ensure the adoption of ‘best practice’ within the organic production/processing sector;
- Develop facilities for processing of organic products including, preparation, grading, packing, storage, distribution, or the sale of organic products as part of a wider organic operation.
Who is eligible?
The scheme is open to organic operators who:
- Are licensed organic operators registered with an approved organic certification body;
- Are currently registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.
- Own or have leasehold title to the site for a minimum period of five years, on which it is proposed to carry out the development;
- Agree to provide relevant bank/building society/credit union details to ensure that all
- payments made by the DAFM are paid by electronic fund transfer;
- Provide a copy of the farm’s business plan as per the scheme’s terms and conditions.
The aid shall cover the following eligible costs:
- The construction, acquisition, or improvement of infrastructure
- The purchase of machinery and equipment up to the market value of the assets
- Direct costs linked to expenditure, such as architect, engineer and consultation fees, fees relating to advice on environmental and economic sustainability. Associated costs such as accommodation and flights are ineligible.
- Acquisition or development of computer software and acquisitions of patents, licenses, copyrights, and trademarks.
Projects costing less than €3,000, excluding VAT, will not be eligible for grant assistance, according to the DAFM.
To apply for the scheme, you must submit supporting document, which includes your application form, a completed business plan, a minimum of two original details quotes on suppliers’ headed paper, a lease agreement (if applicable), planning permission details (if applicable), a copy of articles of association, in the case of an application by a company and a site location map.
The OPIG Scheme will open in tranches, the first of which runs from May 24th, 2023, to June 23rd, 2023, and applications must be submitted by post or email.
The DAFM has made the scheme’s terms and conditions available in a 34-page PDF on www.gov.ie.