Regional Food Programme opens for applications

Date published: 29 March 2024

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Andrew Muir has announced the opening of the 2024/25 Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme (NIRFP).

The Programme provides support of £170,000 to help raise the profile of quality regional food. Applications are invited from not-for-profit groups and regional development agencies as well as registered charities.

Welcoming the opening of the Programme, Minister Muir said: “This is an important funding programme for our food and drink sector. The programme encourages collaboration between all sectors and representative bodies within the local food industry through financial support to help showcase quality regional food.

“Last year, the Programme provided funding to a range of projects including the Food Pavilion at Balmoral Show where over 100 food and drink producers from across NI were able to showcase and sell their produce. The NIRFP also supported the Food Tourism Connection Summit, Armagh Food & Cider Weekend, and the food pavilions at the local agricultural shows.

“The food and drinks sector in Northern Ireland has so much to give and I will continue to support the delivery of high quality, high impact projects that will raise the profile of local quality produce.”

The programme has supported many local events and initiatives by providing financial support in three key areas - regional fairs/exhibitions, seminars/workshops, and information programmes.

In 2023/24 the NIRFP awarded funding to 17 projects, providing local producers with showcasing opportunities at a range of agri-food events across Northern Ireland. In addition, DAERA also supported the third year of a generic agri-food promotion campaign to build on the successes achieved in 2021 and 2022. The campaign covered all sectors of the NI food industry highlighting the quality, sustainability and reputation of the food that is produced on local farms.

Applications are now open for projects taking place from 1 May 2024 to 31 March 2025 and must be submitted by 4.00pm on Monday 15 April 2024. Awards will be subject to budget availability.

Application forms can be downloaded from the DAERA website.

Notes to editors: 

1. The NI Regional Food Programme was established as part of the implementation of The Fit for Market Report, which was published by the Food Strategy Group in November 2004.

2. Successful applications to the Programme can obtain up to 40% financial contributions on eligible project expenditure for regional fairs/exhibitions, seminars/workshops and information programmes

3. Scheme rules mean that only not-for-profit groups with a Northern Ireland membership, registered charities or not-for-profit regional development agencies that plan to deliver projects that raise the profile of NI regional food can apply. Applications for collaborative ventures involving two or more eligible organisations working together to deliver the objectives of the Programme are encouraged.

4. Closing date for completed applications is 4.00pm on Monday 15 April 2024.

5. An application form for funding can be downloaded from the DAERA website or obtained from the contact details below:

NIRFP Management Team
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
First Floor
Clare House
303 Airport Road West
Tel: 028 9052 4497

6. Follow DAERA on X formerly called Twitter and Facebook.

7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9016 3460.

8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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