A new Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation (FPMC) grant scheme is expected to provide £7.3M to food and drinks companies in rural Scotland.
The money is expected to go to 29 businesses in the country, with a selection of grants of varied values – ranging from £1,047 to £1.4M – being offered to different sized companies.
The grant aims to help businesses increase their level of production, buy more equipment and up the size of their storage facilities.
The groups that have been given access to these grants are all in the process of working on several innovative projects, such as improving processing equipment to produce better-for-you products, higher-quality vegetable processing facilities, and larger storage sites.
Mairi Gougeon, the Rural Affairs Secretary for Scotland said in a statement: “This funding will play an important role in helping producers continue to deliver high-quality, innovative and nutritious products that will be enjoyed at home and abroad – securing and creating jobs in our rural communities and boosting the economy.
“I look forward to seeing how these grants will help businesses to move into emerging markets and ensure the long-term viability of our primary producers.“
FPMC is a part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), which supports businesses aiming to bring economic, environmental and social improvement to rural regions in Scotland.
Within the food and drinks sector specifically, this programme allows Scottish businesses to try out pilot projects, build or develop food processing plants and equipment, market goods at home or on export markets, as well as get involved in co-operative projects to maintain an efficient supply chain and support local farmers and growers.
Gougeon also added: “Our food and drink sector creates amazing produce that is enjoyed across local, national and international markets.
“Consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is produced and transported, along with a desire for food that is made locally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has also underlined the importance of collaboration and a strong, sustainable supply chain.“