Onion storage unit will be built by a Wisbech firm thanks to its second grant in seven weeks

Fountains food, Upwell.Picture; Steve Williams,

Fountains food, Upwell.Picture; Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

A massive energy efficient onion storage unit will be built by a Wisbech firm thanks to its second grant money pot awarded in less than two months.

Fountain Foods is among the latest round of businesses to benefit from a share of £214,822 from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative which includes poultry farmers, equipment manufacturing and food processing companies as well as a business that provides dual-fuel solutions for diesel engines.

Family-run Fountain Foods plans to use their grant of £110,000 to fund a 1500 tonne onion storage unit.

In February the firm secured a £171,000 grant to fund the development and manufacturing of CauliRice - a long-life rice substitute made from cauliflower.

The latest grant will fund an energy efficient store to cure the onions and hold them in chilled conditions to supply a raw material source during the most difficult time of the year between May and July.

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Jim Kelk, factory and procurement manager for Fountain Foods, said the grant ensured self-sufficiency in growing, storing and processing onions from the local area and also increased local farming and employment opportunities.

He said: “The award will see a dramatic reduction in the food miles and carbon footprint related to the produce associated with the project.”

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Other firms to get funding are Sharp Systems in King’s Lynn who are buying a bending machine to improve precision and accuracy, Diesel Dynamics in Norfolk, who plan to fund a research and development project into biogas for diesel vehicles and generators inn the agricultural sector and Uphouse Farm near Fakenham who will use the latest equipment to improve the welfare of their chickens.

Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said; “The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is helping 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. These grants are delivering new jobs and helping our local businesses grow.

“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.”

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