Local Food Company to Benefit from EU Funds

Mar 06, 2006

Coleraine company, Ballyrashane Co-operative Agricultural & Dairy Society, is one of 13 Northern Ireland food and horticulture companies to benefit from £3.46 million in grant aid from the EU Agricultural Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme.

The company has been awarded a grant of over £185,000 to support its overall investment of £463,000 in new equipment and building upgrades. The investment will improve Ballyrashane’s cheese processing facilities and enable it to expand its specialty cheese production.

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.

Ballyrashane currently employs 150 and is anticipating creating 15 more jobs as a result of the investment. The grant will primarily allow it to increase production of its speciality Regato cheese, and become more operationally efficient. The company estimates that, as a result, it will significantly increase export sales over the next three years.

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 Ballyrashane to develop a niche product 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. It is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in conjunction with Invest NI and is part of the Northern Ireland Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity.

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