Vegetable processing firm Fountain Foods has won funding to build a new 1,500 tonne onion storage unit at its base in Wisbech.
The new facility will be used to cure onions and hold them in chilled conditions, and will help maintain demand during the difficult sourcing period between May and July.
It will be built using one of four new grants, totalling just under £215,000, from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and awarded to agriculture businesses in Norfolk and Fenland.
The scheme, which has invested over £2 million in local businesses to date, has more funding available and local agri-businesses are being encouraged to apply for grants for projects covering new market and supply chain development, improving productivity or efficiency and R&D.
“The ease of application, as well as the complete understanding of the Programme Delivery Board that any grant allocated to Fountain Foods would not only support the recipient’s passion for self-sufficiency in growing, storing and processing onions from the local area, but also increase local farming and employment opportunities,” said Fountain Foods factory and procurement manager Jim Kelk.
“The award will also see a dramatic reduction in the food miles and carbon footprint related to the produce associated with the project,” he added.
Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “There is still funding available, and we want to encourage even more businesses to apply to further strengthen our position as the leading area for Agri-Tech in the UK.
“The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is helping to drive forward economic growth in our area by funding vital agricultural research, as well as providing on the ground investment into the agricultural and food manufacturing industry.
“From food and drink producers to specialist equipment manufacturers and poultry farmers; the variety of companies we have supported reflects the diversity and strength of our area’s agricultural sector.”
The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is funded by the Regional Growth Fund, following a successful bid by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with other local authorities.