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 have recently 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 first two schemes to launch are Countryside Productivity Water Resource Management grants and Improving Forestry Productivity grants.

The Water Resource Management grants are to improve farm and horticultural productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

The Forestry grants are to improve forestry productivity through felling, extraction and adding value by primary processing of timber products.

The minimum grant request in each case is £35,000.

Further information, including handbooks, application forms and guidance is available here

In addition, the RDPE Growth Programme which opened in January 2017 remains open to applications. The Growth Programme provides funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Under the RDPE Growth Programme, there are currently calls for projects open for: business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure.

Full details about the funding announcement made on 29 July 2017 are available in a press release here

Open Calls: EARFD

CURRENTLY CLOSED - Click here to view open calls for EAFRD.


Contact Susannah Lewis on or 01522 550638 

Further info:

DEFRA rural services helpline 03000 200 301 (choose the Rural Development option)  
Search for ‘RDPE Countryside Productivity’ on