Government – guidance

Promotion schemes for agricultural products

Apply for European Union (EU) funding to promote agricultural products.

An organisation that represents certain sectors of agricultural produce may apply to the European Union (EU) to co-fund an Information and Promotion programme.

A programme is a set of measures which should improve information about the product and sales of the product.

You can apply to fund Internal market promotions (in the European Union) or Third country promotions.

Check if your programme is eligible for EU funding

  • Your organisation’s registered place of business must be in the EU.
  • The product you’re promoting must be from the approved list of products.
  • The programme you submit needs to:
    • run for at least one year and for up to three years (part-years are not funded)
    • improve information about the product
    • improve sales of the product
  • You should not promote any brands, trade marks, companies or regions
  • All information and promotion messages should promote the main qualities of the product or its characteristics
  • If you refer to the origin of the product, it must be secondary to the main message of the campaign

Internal market promotions

As well as the requirements above, your programme should give impartial information about the nutritional value of the products, their production methods or how environmentally friendly they are.

The Department of Health (DOH) will consider any health and nutritional claims that are made as part of your programme.

Your programme should have main messages which are of interest to consumers, professionals or the trade of several Member States.

Your programme should preferably run for more than one year, and have a significant impact on the targeted markets.

Your programme isn’t eligible for EU funding, if it is already being funded under a Rural Development programme (Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005).

Third country promotions

As well as the requirements above, all information and messages that promote the product must meet with the laws of the relevant third country.

Programmes are preferred if they:

  • cover a group of products and emphasise quality, nutritional value and food safety.
  • emphasise quality, nutritional value, safety, and represent European agricultural and food production (if you’re promoting a single product or a product from a single member state)

How to apply

You can apply for the schemes twice each year.

RPA will issue a press release inviting applications in June and November. To receive this information direct from us, please contact us.

application form and guidance notes (MS Word Document, 121KB)

application form and guidance notes (PDF, 72KB, 12 pages)

A valid application must include annexes 1, 2 and 3 of the application form:

  • annex 1: a written statement about funding the programme
  • annex 2: a signed statement that you are not already receiving EU funding for the programme
  • annex 3: programme identification sheet.

Appoint an implementing body

You need to appoint an implementing body, by competitive tender, to run at least 50% (by value) of the programme.

This can be done before an application is made. You need to send evidence of the competitive tendering process with your application, including a copy of the scoring procedure and reason for the final choice.

The implementing body can help with drawing up your programme. However, you would have to pay for any costs at this stage as funding is only available once the programme starts.

Or, you can choose an implementing body after you have applied for the programme but before the programme begins. You’ll need to include your timetable and the tender procedure in part 3 of the application form.

You’ll need to show that the implementing body is financially and technically capable of running the programme.

You can choose to run up to 50% of the programme yourself. You should clearly show this in your application. You should also show the parts of the programme you are running separately in your budget.

Also, you need to show that:

  • you are experienced in the products and markets concerned, and have resources available to make the programme effective
  • you have at least five years’ experience of running similar activities
  • you can run up to 50% of the total cost of the programme
  • the cost of the programme is not more than normal market rates.

All contracts with implementing bodies need to be in place before the programme starts. Also, implementing bodies need to have any contracts with subcontractors in place before the programme starts. You need to send copies of all contracts to us.

All contracts need to state that implementing bodies and subcontractors have the same technical, administrative and accounting checks as the main contractor.

Amount of funding available

The European Union will fund up to 50% of the programme and you need to fund at least 20%. Trade levies may fund a further 30%. If this isn’t available, you’ll need to fund 50% of the costs.

EU funding may increase up to 60% for internal market promotions but only if it’s used for:

  • promoting fruit and vegetables in EU schools, or
  • promoting wine. As long as it promotes responsible drinking and highlights the harm caused by excessive drinking.

How long the process takes

RPA needs to receive your application by 15 April or 30 September.

‘Defra and RPA evaluate all applications. If we consider your application is sufficient, we’ll send it to the European Union by 15 June for applications made in April, or 30 November for applications made in September. If not, we’ll contact you.

After receiving applications, the EU will let us know within 60 calendar days if an application does not meet their rules or requirements. If this applies to your application, we’ll tell you straightaway.

The EU will decide which programmes to fund by 15 November for applications made in April, or 30 April for applications made in September.

We’ll only contact you if your application is successful. A contract between you and RPA must then be in place within 90 calendar days. After this deadline, no contracts can be signed.

Before the contract is signed, you must lodge the performance bond or security required. This is 15% of the maximum annual EU and member state contribution.

Products covered by the scheme

Internal market promotions

  • fresh, chilled or frozen meat, produced under an EU or national quality scheme
  • fibre flax
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • honey and beekeeping products
  • marking of eggs for human consumption
  • live plants and products of ornamental horticulture
  • milk and milk products
  • olive oil and table olives
  • organic farming produced in line with Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 and products registered under that regulation
  • processed fruit and vegetables
  • products registered under protected designation/s of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication/s (PGI) or traditional speciality/ies guaranteed (TSG) or optional quality terms in line with Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012
  • seed oils
  • sheep meat
  • wines with a PDO or PGI or where the variety of grape is shown

Third country promotions

  • Fibre flax
  • Fresh and processed fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh, chilled and frozen beef, veal and pig meat: food preparations based on these products
  • Live plants and products of ornamental horticulture
  • Milk products
  • Olive oil and table olives
  • Organic farming products produced in line with Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
  • Products processed from cereals and rice
  • Products registered under protected designation/s of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication/s (PGI) or traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG) in line with Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012
  • Quality poultry meat
  • Sheep meat
  • Spirit drinks with a PGI
  • Wines with a PDO or PGI or where the variety of grape is shown

Countries open to the scheme

The scheme operates in the member states of the EU and the following third countries.

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • China
  • Georgia
  • India
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

Geographical areas

  • Latin America
  • Africa
  • North America
  • Middle East
  • South East Asia

Contact RPA


Telephone: 0191 226 5338

Fax: 0191 226 5040

Rural Payments Agency
Promotions Team
Room 151
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle upon Tyne