Jim Kelk, Factory & Procurement Manager for Fountain Foods Ltd, said that the grant was the final piece of the jigsaw that will see the development and manufacture of CauliRice at the Fountain Foods Upwell site: “This product will be sold throughout the UK and abroad, creating opportunities for the local workforce and farming community in its manufacturing and production.”
To date, the growth initiative has funded over £2 million worth of Agri-Tech growth and development projects throughout Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk and this latest cohort of projects reflects the breadth of agricultural sector from farming and food production to chemicals and information technology.
Scale up of herbicide production
Chemical manufacturer Safapac Ltd, based in Peterborough is to scale up its herbicide pilot plants to full production scale plants. MD Martin Steele said: “In the next few weeks we will be installing a much improved production facility. With the approval of the Agri-Tech grant we are now able to accelerate our plans to invest £400,000 in new plant and equipment, and exploit exciting business opportunities that are available to us. The investment and subsequent growth in business will lead to at least 15 to 20 new jobs in the coming years.”
Complete harvesting solution
Family run arable farm J. Gilbert & Son Ltd, based in Littleport, is looking to build an 1,800 tonne capacity combinable crop store with continuous flow dryer to increase productivity and improve efficiency. The design of the building incorporates environmentally friendly features such as rainwater harvesting and energy efficiency savings.
Supported by Anglia Farmers the farm business has been awarded funding through the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth initiative. Mark Gilbert said: “We are thrilled to receive additional funding through the Agri-Tech grant scheme. The business will now be able to offer a complete harvesting, drying and storage solution to existing and new customers, as well as investigating opportunities in alternative and high value combinable crops.”
Other projects funded included iLevel Ltd, based in Newmarket that is developing a remote monitoring system for the agricultural industry focused on fuel and fertiliser usage
Easy to apply
Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), comments:
“We are delighted by the success of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative. By investing in such a wide range of agricultural projects the LEP is defining the future of our region’s agricultural sector by creating jobs, growing businesses and funding vital research. The process is simple and straightforward, and I would encourage all businesses within the East of England’s agricultural industry to get involved with the scheme and apply for funding.”
Dan Cox, Programmes Manager at Anglia Farmers and advisor to J. Gilbert & Son, agrees, he says: “This is the first time that we have worked with one of our members on the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth initiative and found the process particularly straightforward in relation to other grant schemes.
“The high level of support from the project team has been important in developing the application and this has contributed to us being able to achieve a successful outcome.”
The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is funded by the Regional Growth Fund, thanks to a successful bid by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with Cambridgeshire County Council, Norfolk County Council, New Anglia LEP and the local authorities covering this area. Grants are available to organisations looking to invest in new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and the progression, application and commercialisation of Research and Development.