14 October 2017
By Tom Collins
Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, has welcomed plans for an €8.8 million National Food Innovation Hub to be located at Teagasc’s Moorepark facility outside Fermoy.
Speaking about the launch Senator Lombard said: “This National Food Innovation Hub is a critical and timely investment in our agri-food sector due to the uncertainty and potential challenges posed by Brexit.
“As a member of the joint Oireachtas committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine I am constantly discussing and debating the imminent challenge of Brexit, something which farmers and agri-business people in Cork have been talking to me about on a weekly basis.
“The Government is being proactive about this. We want to help Irish businesses to innovate and expand and this new Hub will help ensure our agri-food sector remains competitive – a hugely important initiative to help mitigate the impacts of Brexit.
“The Government’s Food Wise 2025 plan identified Research, Development and Innovation as key drivers of competitiveness in the agri-food sector. Collaboration between industry and the research community is crucial to advance research and new product innovation.
“The Hub will act as a business innovation network involving dairy companies, Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL), incubator companies and public-private partnership based R&D programmes with a research focus on food processing, quality and nutrition. It will consist of up to 12 customer application suites containing office and laboratory space, so that each company can have an on-campus presence to conduct new-product development and collaborate with research.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed today (Friday) that €8.8m of exchequer funding will be provided from the Department of Agriculture’s Capital allocation on a phased basis over 2018 and 2019 to fund the development of the National Food Innovation Hub.
This investment in the National Food Innovation Hub is in addition to a €10 million investment by Teagasc and the dairy industry in MTL (Moorepark) to expand and upgrade its pilot processing facilities. This upgrade is currently underway.
Senator Lombard continued: “In addition, Budget 2018 provides €300 million for a Brexit Loan Scheme for small businesses, with funding of up to €300m available at a competitive 4% interest rate to assist SMEs, including food businesses, with their short-term working capital needs.
“Brexit has very serious consequences for Ireland, but the Government is proactively working to insulate and support the agri-food sector as much as possible.”