09/02/2006

EU funding for local horticultural company

Moy company, K Hughes, is one of 13 Northern Ireland food and horticulture companies to benefit from a £3.46 million in grant aid from the EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme.

The company has been awarded a grant of over £126,000 to install a state-of-the-art grading, packing and labelling system, set up a dedicated slicing room and increase its refrigerated storage facilities.

The grant award was announced recently by the Agriculture Minister, Jeff Rooker, who said that the projects to be supported would foster innovation and capability development, and strengthen local supply chains in the agri-food sector.

K Hughes core business is grading and pre-packing fresh mushrooms. It currently employs 50 and is anticipating creating 14 more jobs as a result of the investment.

The grant will help the company to modernise its facilities and become more efficient and competitive.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Food, says: “To compete successfully, agri-food companies need to invest in innovative new products and innovative marketing techniques.

“This grant will help K Hughes to improve its capability and position it to increase sales by taking a market-led, customer focused approach, in keeping with the Food Strategy Report.”

The EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme is designed to improve the economic performance and international competitiveness of the food processing sector.

Grants total £3.03 million from EU funds and £0.43 million from Invest NI national funds and elegible companies benefit at a rate of up to 40% – comprising 35% from the EU (subject to a maximum of £0.5 million) and 5% from national funds.

The EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme will close for applications in Spring 2006. A definitive closure date has yet to be announced.

(SP)

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