Local firms benefit from food funding

A BIG funding boost is on the menu for two local businesses following the announcement of the latest round of Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) awards.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead revealed the good news at last week’s Royal Highland Show and amongst the 15 food and drink businesses across Scotland set to share a funding pot of £3.7 million are Berwickshire firms R&K Drysdale and Kezie Ltd.

The former, based in Cockburnspath, will receive £150,000 of funding towards the salaries and associated costs of a key account director and business development executive.

The long-established agricultural business has developed from its origins as a farm-based enterprise to a nationwide processor of added value, locally grown products.

And managing director, Chris Keenan, said the new batch of funding should help the company build for the future.

He told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “This is great news for Drysdales as we are always developing our products.

“We’ve had a successful year so far despite the atrocious winter but you can’t expect to be in the agricultural industry and not be affected by the weather!

“We’re always looking to improve the quality and security of our supply and the funding for the new positions should ensure the company is well placed for further expansion.”

Also set to benefit are Duns-based Kezie Ltd, who won a Great Taste Gold Award last year for their innovative kangaroo fillets.

They will receive £135,828 to buy and install additional processing and packing equipment, together with new freezing and chilled storage facilities.

The FPMC scheme has provided a total of £30 million of vital funding for small to medium enterprises across Scotland since its launch in 2008, safeguarding and creating around 7,000 jobs.

And John Lamont said it was only right that Berwickshire should get a cut of the money, given the standard of produce produced in the area.

Congratulating Drysdales and Kezie, the MSP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: “It is no surprise to see Berwickshire so well represented amongst the winners of these awards, with our area being well known for producing a wide variety of high quality food.”

“These two firms not only produce quality food, but also provide much needed employment in Berwickshire and are an important part of the local economy. Congratulations to both of these firms and I hope that this funding will be a real boost to their operations in our region.”

Championing Scotland’s top notch cuisine, Richard Lochhead added: “From our top quality Scotch beef and lamb and award-winning seafood, to unique regional cheeses and our iconic haggis, it’s clear to see why Scotland has a growing reputation as one of the world’s greatest producers of quality food.

“The £3.7 million of funding will provide an essential boost to food and drink companies across Scotland, from Huntly to Ayr and from Laurencekirk to Duns. It will leverage a further £12.4 million of investment from the companies involved, injecting a total of £16.1 million into Scottish food and drink.”