Agri-food projects across County Kildare are to benefit from €70 million in national funding to help producers identify new markets and expand their offerings following Britain’s exit from the EU, a Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon has said.

22 projects in the dairy and meat sectors across the country are to receive funding from the Government’s Capital Investment Scheme for the Processing and Marketing of Agricultural Products.

Minister Heydon said, “Funding for Moyvalley Meats and Dawn Farm Foods projects across the dairy and meat sectors in County Kildare announced by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, will allow our local food producers to tap into new markets and attract more customers after a very challenging period due to Brexit.

‘’County Kildare food producers will receive total funding of 5,700,966. This is a huge investment in the County Kildare agri-food industry and represents Fine Gael’s commitment to securing the economic future of rural Ireland.

“The agriculture sector is the lifeblood of many communities across County Kildare. Nationally, we produce enough food to feed nine times our population and the sector employs almost 165,000 people across the country. We need to ensure the viability of these jobs long-term, and this investment of €70 million will go directly to food producers to help them develop and diversify.

“This investment is about gaining access to new markets in Asia and North America in particular, with a specific focus on moving up the value chain by increasing sales of higher value-add products.”

An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, “Brexit caused huge uncertainty for the sector and is a warning of the dangers of becoming over-reliant on a certain market.

“Similarly, the need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining production levels is another challenge facing our food producers.

“We need to take action now that embraces new technology, creates new jobs and new business opportunities, protects rural communities and tries to avoid driving up the cost of living. This Fund aims to help food producers make the transition.”