The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development aims to improve the competitiveness of agriculture and forestry, the environment, and the countryside, and the quality of life and management of economic activity in rural areas.

For those stakeholders who may have a suitable project it is essential that the LEP ESIF strategy is reviewed to identify whether potential project ideas have a strong strategic fit

Calls for projects are announced on our latest news pages as well as on this page.

DEFRA announced £200m of new activity under the Rural Development Programme socio-economic schemes.  This includes:

  • £30m to improve rural broadband - grants available will encourage growth by helping provide broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned. It will supplement existing Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport investment in rural broadband.
  • £45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment.  Rural businesses, including those engaged in tourism and food production, can apply for funding to invest in their company, helping them to expand, diversify, and invest in new technology.
  • £120m for projects that improve farm productivity.  This money will help farmers, foresters and landowners manage their land more effectively. Funding will be available for a wide range of purposes, including woodland management equipment, creating on-farm reservoirs and using water more efficiently.

The RDPE Growth Programme has reopened to expressions of interest. This opportunity has been achieved through the creation of the RDPE Growth Programme National Reserve Fund and to run a new round of National Calls for applications.  The three themes of Food Processing, rural Business Development and rural Tourism Infrastructure are available all of the 36 LEP areas where the grants have previously been available.

This will be a minimum £35 million fund to boost rural productivity and create local jobs and the overall budget could increase to £50m to fund worthy projects. For this funding round of the Growth Programme, the minimum grants request has come down to £20,000 from £35,000, meaning that more small or micro-businesses may be eligible for a grant for their projects.

The proposed new calls will operate in a very similar way to the previous round. There are a few changes to note.

  • The minimum grant for all 3 themes is now £20,000 (previously £35,000)
  • The maximum grant for Business Development is €200,000 as state aid is de minimis – currently around £175,000
  • The maximum grant for commercial projects under Tourism Infrastructure is £ €200,000 again the state aid is de minimis – currently around £175,000
  • The maximum grant for non-commercial Tourism Infrastructure (M7.5) is also capped at €200,000 though the intervention rate and state aid used will differ depending on the activity. Please see the Tourism Infrastructure handbook for more detail on the grant rates for different types of project.
  • The maximum grant for Food Processing is capped at £750,000 for projects where the outputs are Annex I products.  Where the output of the project is non-Annex I products will usually be limited to €200,000.  Please see the Food Processing Handbook for more detail on grant rates for different types of project.

Please refer to the Handbooks which can be found here.

Key Dates

  • EOI application window will be open  Monday 4 November to midnight Sunday 16 February 2020

Information points & Contact details


Following the launch of EAFRD Round 3 Growth calls earlier this month, the RPA has set up a series of EOI workshops for potential applicants in Nottingham and other locations nationally.

The Nottingham dates are as follows, all at Apex Court, City Link NG2 4LA  

Friday 29 November 2019             10:00am-12:00pm

Thursday 16 January 2020             10:00am-12:00pm

Tuesday 4 February 2020              10:00am-12:00pm


Places can be booked using the Eventbrite system here


For any information on EAFRD Funding please contact Ashley Myers on on 01522 554976.