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CEDRA - Agri-Food Tourism

Agri-food tourism broadly is the practice of offering an activity or activities in rural areas to visit areas of well-known agricultural produce and to sample and taste the local or regional cuisine or specialties. Agri-food tourism may involve staying on farm or touring food trails and events, participation in agricultural endeavours or buying produce direct from a farm or market.  It also encompasses local food, farmer and artisan market schemes that support and are paired with local and seasonal food producers and artisan crafts.  The development of agri-food trails allows promotion of regional or specialist cuisines, the growth and development of local or regional food and drink producers, traders and artisans whilst supporting diversification of rural producers within a wider framework of tourism. These operations are run in a number of settings ranging from working family farms, local community initiatives through to more institutional frameworks at the County or inter-County level.  Experience has shown that well run operations provide an opportunity for inclusion of agricultural produce, local food artisans and producers, and local rural markets into tourism more broadly. These initiatives support farm and local community diversification and help farmers connect with the wider community. From a Government perspective, they provide a collaborative framework for different Departments and agencies to work together.   

An allocation of €419,000 was available for 2018 as part of a funding framework.  The 2018 allocation aims to develop and expand capacity for agri-food tourism and build on the projects and learning from 2017.  A competitive public procurement procedure under the 2018 Rural Innovation and Development Fund for Agri-Food Tourism Initiatives was announced in June and two projects were successful.  A further call for proposals issued in September with €200,000 funding available for projects with a maximum of €25,000 being awarded to any one project.  Eleven projects received funding following this call.

A decision regarding the availability of funding for 2019 under this initiative is expected shortly.  Subject to approval, the scheme is likely to open for applications in the second quarter of the year.