Encouragement for regional food processing

Friday, 10 February, 2006

Agrifood businesses across Australia have been provided with $2 million to encourage more food processing in regional areas.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Peter McGauran said today the Food Processing in Regional Australia Program (FPRAP) funding will help create job opportunities in country areas, contributing to the long-term viability of our rural communities.

"FPRAP encourages the value-adding of food produce before it leaves rural and regional areas," he said.

"Under FPRAP, small to medium-sized agrifood businesses are eligible for grants of up to $200,000 for food processing projects in rural and regional Australia.

"The 15 recipients - chosen from 112 high-quality applications - represent a diverse range of industries and regions, and stand to deliver sizeable economic and social benefits to their communities.

"Northern Territory-based company Australian Barramundi Culture, for example, will install grading technology to process handy, plate-size barramundi for the high-end of the food service industry.

"Victoria's Meredith Dairy will install new equipment to increase production of its sheep and goat's milk cheeses; and SA's Australian Food Innovators will install processing equipment to produce natural, sulphur-free fruit products."

McGauran said FPRAP's third round of funding was now open, with applications closing on 15 March 2006.

Further information on how to apply is available by visiting www.daff.gov.au/regionalfood or contacting the FPRAP hotline - 1300 794 550.

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