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Introduction: Supporting the rural economy and the transition to the Sustainable Farming Scheme

The Programme for Government sets out our commitments to continue supporting farmers to produce food in a sustainable way, whilst taking action to respond to the climate emergency and to help reverse the decline in biodiversity. Funding support for farmers, land managers and associated rural sectors over the next 3 years is delivered through a flexible framework of support, with schemes – including the Small Grants - Horticultural Start Up Scheme - delivering towards the following themes:

  • farm scale land management
  • on farm environmental improvements
  • on farm efficiency and diversification
  • landscape scale land management
  • woodland and forestry
  • food and farming supply chains

The framework is designed to both support action in response to the challenges and opportunities available over the next 3 years and to inform the continuing development of the Sustainable Farming Scheme, which will reward farmers for the work they do now to lower their carbon footprint, improve the environment and produce food in a sustainable way.

Further information on the themes and schemes being developed are available at the Wales Rural Network (on businesswales.gov.wales)

Section A – introduction

These Guidance Notes explain the Small Grants – Horticulture Start Up Scheme and the type of projects that may qualify for grant aid. Please read it carefully. If you then consider your investment plans may qualify for support under this scheme, please see ‘How to Apply’ at section C and the How to Complete booklet.

The application process for Small Grants – Horticulture Start Up Scheme is in two stages. Firstly, an Expression of Interest (EoI), if the EoI is selected you will need to complete a full application.

The Expression of interest (EoI) window will open on 25 May 2022 and close on 29 June 2022.

The indicative budget allocation for this application window is £300,000.

The grant available for each applicant is £3,000

The Small Grants – Horticulture Start Up scheme is designed to support entry into the horticulture sector in Wales by encouraging the establishment of new commercial horticulture enterprises, either as a diversification within an existing agricultural business, or as stand-alone new enterprises. In doing so, it will help to deliver the Welsh Government’s ambition for a more prosperous, green and equal Wales.

Funding will encourage the use of new and emerging technology, provide opportunities to create a diversified income stream for existing Welsh farm businesses, establish new rural enterprises and create employment opportunities.

The Small Grant - Horticulture Start Up is available to individuals or businesses who wish to enter the commercial horticultural sector. The aims of the scheme are to:

  • encourage the establishment of new commercial horticultural enterprises by offering seed funding in the form of a grant.
  • partially mitigate the financial risk of investing in a new enterprise.
  • attract more individuals to enter the sector.
  • encourage the use of new and emerging technology within horticultural businesses.
  • create a diversified income stream for existing Welsh farm businesses.
  • establish new rural enterprises, which can create employment, opportunities for growth and sustainable local food production.
  • respond to the Wales Community Food Strategy and encourage the supply of locally sourced food in Wales.

Applicants if selected following EoI will need to demonstrate at full application their projects are viable proposals with the potential to develop into sustainable enterprises.

Outcomes on completion of the project

 On completion of the project, the supported individual / business will have:

  1. Established a new horticultural business or new horticultural enterprise as part of an established business.
  2. Grown a horticultural crop or crops on a commercial scale.
  3. Developed a route to market for the horticultural crop.
  4. Achieved sales income from selling the crop to a new market. However, for enterprises that have planted permanent crops that do not yield in the planting year, no income sales would be demonstrated.
  5. Developed knowledge and intelligence on growing, harvesting, storage, packaging, marketing and distribution.
  6. Engaged in relevant skills development (both technical and business development). A minimum of 2 activities.
  7. Reviewed the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the enterprise and developed appropriate strategies to develop the business.
  8. Established future capital and resources requirements to develop the enterprise into a sustainable business.
  9. Developed a minimum three-year business plan with a timeline to develop the initial enterprise to a commercial venture (or alternative options if the initial enterprise did not achieve the desired outcomes).

Section B – Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up eligibility

You are eligible to apply if:

You intend to establish a new commercial horticultural enterprise.  Horticultural crops are edible fruit, vegetables ornamental plants and flowers. Horticultural crops do not include tree nurseries.

  • You are registered with RPW On-line.
  • The scheme is open to a wide range of Micro, SME and Large enterprises who intend to establish a new horticultural enterprise, such as:
    • Farm business including sole traders
    • Co-operatives
    • Voluntary sector organisations
    • Private and public limited companies

A SME is an undertaking that employs less than 250 employees (based on fulltime equivalents) and has an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euros and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euros. Part-time staff and seasonal workers should be treated as a fraction of a full time equivalent.

SMEs consist of 3 sub-categories of enterprises: micro, small and medium;

  • micro enterprises employ less than 10 employees,
  • small enterprises less than 50 employees,
  • medium enterprises less than 250 employees.

The size of the enterprise also refers to the annual turnover and annual balance sheet total in certain situations.

Group Eligibility

A group of potential new Commercial Horticulture Producers may submit an application for the Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up scheme. To do so, all parties that comprise the group must meet all the above eligibility conditions. In addition, the group must be registered with the Welsh Government and have been issued with a Customer Reference Number (CRN) for the group. The application must be submitted under the CRN as issued for the group.  The group will only be eligible for one grant payment.

You are not eligible if:

  • you are an existing producer of commercial horticulture crops.
  • you are an owner, partner or shareholder with an active role in an existing business with a horticultural interest.
  • you do not intend to produce crops to be sold commercially.
  • you do not intend to grow crops at sufficient scale to show intent that the enterprise is a development of a sustainable commercial venture.
  • you intend to grow crops within a domestic setting, such as a domestic glass house or garden, or the crops are intended for home consumption.

Scheme eligibility queries can be sent to Horticulture@gov.Wales.

The size of the enterprise also refers to the annual turnover and annual balance.

Eligible Costs

The start-up grant is awarded in the form of working capital, which is provided to facilitate the establishment of a commercial horticulture enterprise. The grant can be used to fund capital investments, or as revenue support to fund the following examples of expenditure:

  • purchase of specific equipment and technology for horticultural production.
  • seed, plants etc.
  • harvesting and storage systems.
  • branding, social media content or website development.
  • marketing and/or advertising costs.
  • environmental monitoring or quality control equipment.
  • rental costs.
  • contracting costs.

Second hand equipment is eligible where the applicant can demonstrate the following:

  • it complies with current health and safety legislation;
  • it is fit for purpose;
  • it has at least five years life expectancy remaining.

Ineligible Costs

 Investments in the following will not be eligible for grant aid.

  • purchase of land
  • purchase of motor vehicles
  • purchase of tractors or telehandlers
  • purchase of permanent buildings
  • purchase of non-commercial horticulture equipment
  • items purchased prior to the offer of a Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up contract
  • maintenance or refurbishment costs of existing equipment
  • general office equipment and furniture
  • own labour costs
  • investment in capital items with capacity that exceeds the requirements of the enterprise e.g. the purchase of cultivation equipment that exceeds the requirement of the enterprise
  • items required to meet statutory requirements, e.g. health and safety equipment.

The funding is conditional on the successful delivery of all essential outcomes, listed in Section A.

Selecting Successful Projects

Each application will be assessed on its potential value to the rural economy, how the application responds to the scheme objectives and the potential for the longer-term sustainability of the business.

The initial EoI and selection process will confirm all the eligibility criteria have been satisfactorily met:

Key Requirements

The Contract for the project will be for a maximum of 12 months.

The Project would not proceed without grant assistance.

Applications must also demonstrate the following have been addressed.

Section C – Applying for the Horticulture Start Up Scheme

Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI)

RPW Online

You can only submit an EoI for the Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up scheme by accessing Rural Payments Wales (RPW) Online.  If you already have a Customer Reference Number (CRN) you should have received a letter informing you of your Activation Code to set up your account. If you no longer have this, please telephone the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004 (Monday – Thursday 8:30 – 17:00, Friday 8:30 – 16:30) and tell the operator your CRN. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh. They will send you a new Activation Code.

To register your business details for the first time, you need to complete the online registration form. Please refer to the how to register guidance for further details. The vast majority of changes to business details can be done online. However, the Welsh Government may require further details on any major changes. Please contact the Customer Contact Centre for further information.

Once registered, you can access your RPW Online account. The Horticulture Development application is available from the “Applications and Claims” section of your account. 

Agents acting on behalf of a client will need to register as a Rural Payments Wales agent.  If you have yet to do this you are advised to complete an online or paper copy Agent / Farming Union Customer Details (Wales) form immediately. Upon receipt of the form, we will send you an Agent Customer Reference Number (Agent CRN) and an RPW Online Activation Code. You will also need to complete an Association Authorisation Form, which can be completed once you register with RPW Online, please refer to our how to register guidance.

If you have any questions about registering for RPW Online or completing your EoI and/or full application, please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh. They will be able to provide advice, including the digital assistance that is available to you.

Further details regarding RPW Online are available on the Welsh Government Website.

Section D: The EoI and selection process

Completing the EoI  

Guidance on how to submit your EoI via RPW Online

It is your responsibility to ensure that the EoI is correctly completed and that the information provided in support of your project is accurate.

You must complete the EoI in full and provide all the documentation as detailed below in support of the application.

We will issue a maximum of 2 reminders for applications in draft via your RPW Online account prior to the closing date.

Supporting documentation at EoI

In support of your EoI, you must submit the following documents, where applicable, by the closing date of the EoI window.

  • copy of certificates of qualifications.
  • evidence of CPD activity undertaken between 1 January 2018 and 30 April 2022.
  • evidence of any training or CPD activity, or a knowledge transfer event attended with horticulture as the primary subject since between 1 January 2018 and 30 April 2022.
  • copy of the business plan (if available).

Scoring and selection

EoIs submitted will be in direct competition with one another. The EoIs received will be scored according to the following criteria:

  1. Relevant academic qualification
  2. Continued Professional Development, (CPD) activity undertaken
  3. CPD activity, or attendance at knowledge transfer events with horticulture as the primary subject.
  4. Type of horticultural enterprise to be established.
  5. Availability of a business plan
  6. Business structure of the enterprise

All EoIs will be assessed against a set of selection questions. The EoIs will be ranked in order of merit. Projects will be selected in ranked order until either the funds available have been allocated or the maximum number of applications has been reached. A maximum of 2 tranches of selection will be completed per window. There is no guarantee all of the funds will be allocated or the maximum number of projects will be selected for stage 2 of the process.

No EoI will progress which scores less than the minimum threshold score of 25.

You will be notified whether or not your EoI has been selected through your RPW online account.

Details of the selection scoring are set out below (individual score in brackets).

  1. To support the establishment of a horticultural enterprise, what relevant academic qualification do you have?
  • formal qualification in horticulture (20)
  • formal qualification in agriculture (15)
  • formal qualification in a related subject* (10)
  • no formal qualification in horticulture, agriculture or related subject (0)

Formal qualification is a degree or higher degree qualification or an academic qualification at NVQ level 1-5 or equivalent.

*Related subject could include crop science, marketing, food safety, business studies, etc.

The EoI will be scored based on the highest-level qualification achieved.

  1. Have you undertaken and can evidence any continued professional development (CPD), relating to business planning, business management or development, marketing or any other CPD activity that would help you prepare to establish a successful new enterprise?

(Respond based on CPD activity completed between 1 January 2018 and 30 April 2022)

  • yes (10)
  • no   (0)

Eligible CPD activity could include: Business planning and development, Managing cash flow, Financial recording, Project Management, Marketing, Diversification, or other directly related subject. Do not include any CPD activity where horticulture was the primary subject in response to this question.

  1. Have you undertaken and can provide evidence of training or CPD activity, or attended a knowledge transfer event with horticulture as the primary subject between 1 January 2018 and 30 April 2022)?
  • yes (10)
  • no (0)

Your Horticultural Start up project

  1. What type of horticultural enterprise do you intend to establish:
  • Controlled environment horticulture (CEH) (40)
  • Vegetable / salad crops under plastic, includes poly tunnel or glass (30)
  • Field based salad crops (20)
  • Field based fruit (15)
  • Field based vegetables (10)
  • Non edible crops, flowers, ornamental shrubs, trees etc. (5)
  1. Have you developed a business plan for your proposed new horticultural enterprise?
  • yes (10)
  • no   (0)

Having a full business plan is not essential at EoI stage, however, if you state you have a business plan, as a minimum, the plan should be for the next 3 years and include the following:

  • business details
  • details of resources available, business activity and production system. (if appropriate relationship with farming business)
  • SWOT analysis
  • goals and objectives
  • market and competitor analysis
  • future objectives, options and investment proposals
  • resources required
  • action / delivery plan
  • 3 year financial projections. (Including cash flow, profit and loss and balance sheet projections.)

For a horticultural enterprise intended to be operated within a wider farming business, the plan should explain how the horticultural and agricultural enterprises are integrated.

  1. What will be the business structure of the enterprise:
  • an enterprise within an existing business (e.g. you are the owner, partner or shareholder in an existing business and the horticultural enterprise will be operated within that business) (5)
  • a new stand-alone enterprise, (Either as a sole trader, partnership or limited company) established for the purpose of trading as a horticultural enterprise. (10)

You will be notified whether or not your EOI has been selected through your RPW Online account.

Selected EOIs – Submitting your Full Application online for Appraisal

If your EoI is selected, you will be notified via your RPW Online account. You must either accept of decline the offer of selection by completing and returning the Application Annex included with your selection notification letter to the Welsh Government via your RPW Online account by the date given in your letter.

We will issue a reminder via your RPW Online account prior to the deadline date in your letter.

If you accept selection, your application will progress to full application.

The selection letter does not allow you to start work on the Project. You must not start any work until you receive an offer of a Contract via your RPW Online account Any projects which breach this rule will not be considered for support.

If you do not accept selection, or do not reply to the Welsh Government by the date in the letter, your EoI will not progress further and the offer of selection will be withdrawn.

Selected EoIs – Submitting your full application

If selected, the full application form will be made available on your RPW Online account.

You will be required to submit your application within 8 weeks of the date of being notified.

At the full application, applicants will need to respond to questions based on:

  • activity
  • targets and outcomes
  • resources
  • produce sales and marketing
  • knowledge and experience
  • long term sustainability
  • finance and delivery
  • risk management

The application will also ask applicants to explain how your project will contribute towards the Welsh Government’s cross cutting themes of:

  • equality of opportunity and gender mainstreaming
  • tackling poverty and social exclusion
  • Welsh Language

The indicators and outcomes that will be monitored as a result of the investment are:

  • number of businesses supported
  • number of jobs created
  • impact on the turnover of the business.
  • innovative practices or technology introduced

The following documents will also need to be submitted with the full application

  • Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) Approving Body (SAB) approval if appropriate
  • planning permission if appropriate
  • financial forecasts for the period of the project
  • for existing businesses accounts for the latest three consecutive years

The assessment will not commence until the application and ALL of the supporting documentation has been received by the Welsh Government. You may provide other documentation and evidence in addition to the above to support your application.

Planning Permission

If your investment requires planning consent, for investments such as glasshouses, or polytunnels, the payment of any grant will not be made until planning approval documents have been submitted and verified by the Welsh Government.

If the project has been considered by the planning authority not to require planning consent, you will need to provide evidence from the planning authority to confirm.

Sustainable drainage System (SuDS) Approving Body (SAB) approval

If your investment requires SAB approval, the payment of any grant will not be made until SAB approval documents have been submitted and verified by the Welsh Government.

For an overview of what requires SAB approval and for more detailed guidance please visit the Welsh Government website at: Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS): guidance | GOV.WALES

If the project has been considered by the local SAB not to require SuDS, you will need to provide evidence from the SAB to confirm this.  While SAB approval is independent of planning permission, the evidence you submit will be will be assessed by the appraisal team in a manner consistent with its processes relating to planning consent.

Some applications for construction with drainage implications which require approval by the SAB may not require planning permission from the local planning authority (for example, permitted development less than 100 square metres). It should, therefore, not be assumed that the absence of a requirement for planning permission would negate the need for SAB approval.

  • all other consents, licences and permissions have been granted, where required
  • compliance with minimum standards and legislative requirements regarding the environment, hygiene, animal welfare and all relevant health and safety standards

Appraisal of the full application

The full application will be appraised in accordance with the Scheme Guidance and eligibility rules. It will be subject to full due diligence (where required), appraisal and eligibility checks and only at that point will a final decision be taken to offer a grant or reject the application. There is no guarantee that a project proposal will be approved for a grant. We will aim to complete the appraisal of the application within 90 days of the application submission deadline. If you delay replying to requests for further information this will extend the time taken to complete appraisal of your application.

The information provided will be assessed against the following rating criteria from which a decision can be taken about the award of grant to the project:

  • High: The applicant has provided robust and detailed responses against all of the evidence requirements
  • Medium: The applicant has provided satisfactory and detailed responses against most of the evidence requirements
  • Low: The applicant has provided potentially incomplete or insufficient responses against one or more of the evidence requirements

The quality threshold is a rating of Medium across all categories. If

Please note, we recommend you follow the guidance carefully in order to provide the information requested with the application.

 Appraisal Outcome and Contract Offer

There are two possible outcomes from full application appraisal:

1.    Your project is ineligible and is not approved for an award. You will be informed of the reasons why your application was not successful via your RPW Online account. You may apply again with the same project should further application windows be made available (amending the application if you wish), but only if you have not started a horticultural enterprise.

2.    Your project is eligible and is approved for an award. A contract will be issued to you setting out the terms and conditions of the award via your RPW Online account which you will be asked to accept within 30 days as agreement that you accept the terms and conditions therein. The contract will also provide you with the authority to start work. You will need to accept or decline the offer of contract within 30 days. Failure to accept the contract within 30 days will lead to the contract being withdrawn.

We will issue a reminder via your RPW Online account prior to the acceptance deadline date.

If you decide to withdraw from the contract prior to completion, or do not submit a claim you will not be able to apply to any future round of the Horticultural Start Up scheme

You can withdraw your application at any time prior to a contract being awarded without it impacting on any future applications for the Horticultural Start Up Scheme.

Subject to the requirements of the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on Public Access to Information, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004: all information given to the Welsh Government will be treated in strict confidence. You should be aware that if successful, the Welsh Government reserve the right to publish the name of your company, the amount of grant you were awarded and a summary of your project.

Section E - conditions of grant

The Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up Scheme is subject to a range of relevant legislation (see Annex A). The Welsh Government and the applicant / recipient must act in accordance with that legislation.

The offer of a Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up grant is made subject to terms and conditions, which will be set out in full in your contract, and include those set out below. The contract will be for 12 months from the date the contract is issued.  Failure to meet the terms and conditions of the award could result in the cancellation of your award and / or the recovery of sums already paid, or a reduction of the amount of grant payable.

Conditions:

The award is made on the basis of statements and declarations made by you or your representatives in the application form and the claim form and any subsequent correspondence. The making of false or misleading statements is an offence. You must not begin any work on the project without first obtaining written authority to do so from the Welsh Government. You must have bought the equipment and contacted RPW by the claim deadline within the contract offer.

If you have not contacted RPW within that time, the grant offer will be automatically rejected.

You must meet any legal obligations imposed and UK law.

No alterations may be made to the project, including the location of the activity, without the written approval of the Welsh Government.

Equipment purchased with grant aid may not be disposed of, transferred or sold during the project and for five years from the contract end date, only with prior written consent of the Welsh Government. Where any of these conditions are not met, the grant awarded must be re-paid in full.

The applicant is required to comply with the rules on eligible costs, as detailed in the Scheme Guidance Notes.

Projects should be completed within the timetable agreed with the Welsh Government. You should not deviate from this without prior written agreement from the Welsh Government.

Claims must be submitted via the RPW Online grants claim application along with all supporting documents, as required by the scheme.

Claims must be submitted in accordance with the timetable set out in the contract. You must not deviate from the agreed timing and value of your claims without prior written agreement from the Welsh Government.

You must confirm that none of the items covered by the application are replacements under an insurance claim.

You must provide confirmation no other public funding has been sought. If it is found that you have received public funding from another source your claim may be rejected, payments may be recovered and penalties may be applied.

Records concerning the application and claim for this grant, including all original invoices and any other related documents, must be retained for at least seven years after the project end date.

You must allow representatives of the Welsh Government, the Auditor General for Wales or their representatives to inspect the project. On request, you must provide them with information and / or access to original documentation in relation to the project.

The information provided in the application and any supporting documentation is subject to the requirements of the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on Public Access to Information, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

You should be aware that, if successful, we reserve the right to publish the name of your business or company, the amount of grant you were awarded and a summary of your project.

The information provided in the application is subject to the Privacy Notice. The Privacy Notice explains the Welsh Government’s processing and use of your personal data and your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Section F – payments

Claims

The Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up scheme is only available to claim using the Grants Claim page on your RPW Online account; payments will be made following the successful validation of your claim. Claims will only be paid when the Welsh Government is satisfied the outcomes have been met and that the work has been completed according to plan. Payment will be made by electronic transfer to your bank account.

In order to receive payments you must:

  • have accepted a Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up scheme contract within 30 calendar days of the offer date and adhere to all the requirements.
  • ensure you have only purchased items relating to your contract after you have accepted the contract offer.
  • ensure all items purchased with support are on the premises at the time you submit your claim.
  • submit the claim using the Grant Claim page on your RPW Online account by the claim deadline – 31 March 2024.
  • we will issue a maximum of 2 reminders for any outstanding claims via your RPW Online account prior to the closing date.
  • submit evidence all of the outcomes have been completed.
  • submit evidence of planning permission and SuDS approval if required.

A claim is not considered valid unless it has been submitted via the Grants Claim page and until all supporting documentation has been submitted.

You can submit your claim at any time once the investment has been completed and outcomes achieved. Claims will be processed for payment from 1 October 2023.

Supporting Documentation at Claim

The following are examples of evidence that can be submitted to evidence that you have achieved all of the outcomes:

Examples of evidence
Outcome Supporting evidence required

Established a new horticultural business or new horticultural enterprise as part of an established business.

Grown a horticultural crop or crops on a commercial / semi-commercial scale.

Developed a route to market for the horticultural crop.

  • Geo-tagged photograph of purchased capital items.
  • Geo-tagged photograph of crop/crops being grown. (e.g. sowing, growing, harvesting) The area grown needs to reflect the proposed area submitted in the application.
  • Copies of purchase invoices.
    Copies of sales invoices. (Where applicable)
Achieved sales income from selling the crop to a new market.
  • Copies of sale invoices (where applicable)
  • Evidence of income receipt (bank statement) where applicable)
  • For enterprises that have planted permanent crops that do not yield in the planting year, no income sales would be demonstrated.
Developed knowledge and intelligence on growing, harvesting, storage, packaging, marketing and distribution.
  • and evidence provided against other outcomes.
Engaged in relevant skills development (both technical and business development).
  • Copies of training certificates
Evidence of attendance at training events(Minimum of 2 CPD activities relevant to the business)

Reviewed the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the enterprise and developed appropriate strategies to develop the business.

Established future capital and resources requirements to develop the enterprise into a sustainable business.

Developed a minimum three-year business plan with a timeline to develop the initial enterprise to a commercial venture (or alternative options if the initial enterprise did not achieve the desired outcomes).

  • Copy of business plan.

As a minimum, the plan should be for next 3 years and include the following:

  • Business details.
  • Details of resources available, business activity and production system (if appropriate relationship with farming business).
  • SWOT analysis.
  • Goals and objectives.
  • Market and competitor analysis.
  • Future objectives, options and investment proposals.
  • Resources required.
  • Action / delivery plan.
  • 3-year Financial projections. (Including cash flow, profit and loss and balance sheet projections.)

Where insufficient evidence is provided, claim will be rejected.

Offences

Regulation 13 of the Rural Development Programmes (Wales) Regulations 2014 (No. 3222 (W.327)) establishes criminal offences and penalties in relation to certain aspects of rural development funding.  That Regulation and those offences are applicable to the Horticultural Start Up Scheme.  Examples of offences include knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information in relation to rural development funding, obstructing an inspector or official, and refusing to provide information when requested to do so.

Section G - changes to scheme rules

Legislation changes (including changes in interpretation)

Legislation may change from time to time and you will be required to abide by any changes to the scheme rules following notification from the Welsh Government.

Changes to scheme rules or contract

We may need to make changes to the scheme rules and/or your contract for a number of reasons. For example, we may need to update the management conditions to take account of the latest scientific advice, amend scheme rules to take account of any changes to legislation. We will publicise changes on the Welsh Government website and, where necessary, contact you directly.

Section H - controls, monitoring and record keeping

Controls

The Welsh Government must enforce the Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up Scheme rules.

Your claim may be selected for a visit to verify the realisation of the investment before the payment is made to you, or it may be selected for a visit after the payment has been made.

All the details in your application, the details in your claim and the declarations you made in submitting the application and claim will be checked.

The Welsh Government and the specialist control bodies will try to ensure any visits cause you the minimum of disruption, but some checks require visits to be made unannounced, which means it may not be possible to give you notice. You may be subject to more than one visit during a calendar year.

If you refuse to allow a visit, or obstruct an officer or fail to give reasonable assistance, your claim may not be paid, we may recover payments and you may be prosecuted.

Monitoring

It is a requirement all grant awards are monitored and the effect of the grant on the business is evaluated following completion.  You must allow officials from Welsh Government, or their representatives, to inspect the items purchased within this five year period.

Site visits will be made on a percentage of the projects approved within five years following final completion (Project End Date) to ensure the applicant still has and is using the equipment purchased with the grant and the business is performing as expected.

It will be a requirement of the grant award that equipment purchased with the aid of a grant must be kept in situ, operational and in good repair, and used for the same purpose as set out in the original application, for at least five years from the date of completion of the project, as set out in the contract. This is to ensure the longevity of the project and to guarantee primary producers a lasting share of the project’s benefits.

Record keeping

You must keep all records and information you need to evidence that you have provided complete and accurate information and have complied with your undertakings for five years.

You will also be required to:

  • supply to the Welsh Government any information about your Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up contract and supply that information within the period determined by the Welsh Government.
  • make available to the Welsh Government, its authorised persons or its agents, records, accounts, receipts and other information including access to computer data relating to your Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up contract.  Permit the Welsh Government to remove any such document or record to take copies or extracts from them.

Section I - appeals and complaints procedure

Appeals procedure

There are no grounds for appeal if your EoI is unsuccessful

The ‘Independent Appeals Process for Rural Grants and Payments’ allows you to request a review if you feel the Welsh Government has not reached a correct decision according to the rules of the scheme.  

The appeals process consists of two stages:

  • Stage 1: review by RPW
  • Stage 2: review by an Independent Appeals Panel (if you are dissatisfied with the Stage 1 response).

The Independent Panel make recommendations to the Welsh Ministers, who take the final decision, which concludes the process.

There is no charge for Stage 1 of the process, but there is a charge at Stage 2 – £50 for a written hearing or £100 for an oral hearing.  These charges are repaid in full if the Stage 2 appeal is either partially or fully successful.

Appeals, including supporting evidence, must be submitted via RPW Online within 60 days of the date of the letter outlining the decision you wish to appeal against.

We welcome appeals in Welsh and will respond to any correspondence in Welsh.  This will not lead to delay in processing your appeal.

Further details of the appeals process and how to submit an appeal using the online appeal form, can be obtained from the Customer Contact Centre or our website at: Rural Grants and Payments appeals: Guidance.

Complaints procedure

Complaints will be dealt with under the Welsh Government’s procedure on Complaints. Further advice on how to make a complaint can be obtained from the Complaints Advice Team:

Welsh Government
Crown Buildings
Cathays Park
Cardiff

CF10 3NQ

Tel: 03000 251378. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.

E-mail: complaints@gov.wales

Website: Complaints about Welsh Government

You may also choose to contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales:

1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Pencoed,CF35 5LJ

Tel: 0300 790 0203

Website: Ombudsman (at www.ombudsman.wales).

Section J - privacy notice: Welsh Government grants

How we will handle any personal data you provide in relation to your grant application or request for grant funding.

The Welsh Government provides a wide range of grant schemes to help deliver our policies and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.

The Welsh Government will be data controller for any personal data you provide in relation to your grant application or request for grant funding. The information will be processed as part of our public task (i.e. exercising our official authority to undertake the core role and functions of the Welsh Government) and will help us assess your eligibility for funding.

Before we provide grant funding to you, we undertake checks for the purposes of preventing fraud and money laundering, and to verify your identity. These checks require us to process personal data about you to third party fraud prevention agencies.

If we, or a fraud prevention agency, determine that you pose a fraud or money laundering risk, we may refuse to provide the grant funding you applied for, or we may stop providing existing grant funding to you.

A record of any fraud or money laundering risk will be retained by the fraud prevention agencies, and may result in others refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you.

In order to assess eligibility we may also need to share personal information relating to your application with:

  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Veterinary Medicine Directorate
  • Welsh Local Authorities
  • Food Standards Agency Wales
  • DEFRA
  • Other UK Government Agriculture Offices.
  • Regulatory authorities, such as HM Revenue and Customs, Local Authorities, Health and Safety Executive and the Police.

We may also share your information with organisations which deliver training, knowledge transfer and innovation advice and support on behalf of the Welsh Government for the purposes of appropriate targeting of support.

Your information, including your personal information, may be the subject of a request by another member of the public. When responding to such requests the Welsh Government may be required to release information, including your personal information, to fulfil its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Act 2004 or the Data Protection Act 2018.

The Welsh Government will publish details of the amounts paid to Rural Support beneficiaries. Data will be published for all beneficiaries on a searchable website, and will include the name and locality of the farmer/land manager and details of the amounts and schemes for which subsidy has been paid. However, for those receiving less than the equivalent of £1,250 in subsidies the name will be withheld. The data will be published annually on 31 May and remain available for two years from the date it is published. The information will be available on the Defra website.

We will keep personal information contained in files in line with our retention policy. If successful in your application then your personal data will be kept for 7 years after the date when you, as grant recipient, are free from all conditions relating to the grant awarded and all payment have been made. If you are unsuccessful your details will be kept for one year after the date you provided them.

Under the data protection legislation, you have the right:

  • to access the personal data the Welsh Government holds on you
  • to require us to rectify inaccuracies in that data
  • to (in certain circumstances) object to or restrict processing
  • for (in certain circumstances) your data to be ‘erased’
  • to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who is the independent regulator for data protection.

For further details about the information the Welsh Government holds and its use, or if you want to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please see contact details below:

Data Protection Officer
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
CARDIFF

CF10 3NQ

Email: dataprotectionofficer@gov.wales

The contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office are:

2nd Floor, Churchill House
Churchill Way
Cardiff
CF10 2HH

Telephone: 0330 414 6421

Website: https://ico.org.uk/

Should you have any queries regarding this privacy statement please contact the RPW Customer Contact Centre.

Privacy notice: Welsh Government grants.

Section K – legislation

The Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up Scheme delivers against a range of Government commitments and objectives, these are listed below along with the legislation and governance that applies.

The Small Grants - Horticulture Start Up Scheme is governed by Retained EU Law (REUL) Council Regulations No. 1305/2013, 1303/2013 and 1306/2013, Implementing Regulation No. 808/2014 and No. 809/2014 and Delegated Regulation 640/2014 and 807/2014 (all as amended from time to time).

The retained EU Law is implemented in Wales through the following domestic law (all as amended from time to time), including by the Agricultural Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021/400 (W.129):

  • the Rural Development Programmes (Wales) Regulations 2014/3222 (W.327)
  • the Common Agricultural Policy (Integrated Administration and Control System and Enforcement and Cross Compliance) (Wales) Regulations 2014/3223 (W.328)

Funding support for farmers, land managers and associated rural sectors over the next 3 years in response to four Welsh Government strategic objectives which are:

  • fostering the competitiveness of agriculture;
  • contributing towards the sustainable management of natural resources as set out in Part 1 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016;
  • ensuring climate resilience;
  • achieving a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities including the creation and maintenance of employment.

In addition, there are three cross cutting objectives for the Small Grants Horticulture Start Up Scheme:

  • climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  • innovation
  • environment

As part of the application you will be asked to describe how your project will contribute to these cross cutting objectives.

The Scheme will also ask applicants to report how your project will contribute towards the Welsh Governments cross cutting themes of:

  • equality of opportunity and gender mainstreaming
  • tackling poverty and social exclusion
  • Welsh Language

In addition, applications for the Horticulture Development scheme will address the strategic and thematic objectives of the Welsh Government.

Activities will address at least one of the following Welsh Government priorities:

(1)  fostering knowledge transfer and innovation in agriculture, forestry, and rural areas;

(2)  enhancing farm viability and competitiveness of all types of agriculture in all regions and promoting innovative farm technologies and the sustainable management of forests;

(3)  promoting food chain organisation, including processing and marketing of agricultural products, animal welfare and risk management in agriculture;

(4)  restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry;

(5)  promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in the agriculture, food and forestry sectors;

(6)  promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.

World Trade Organisation and Subsidy Control

1. Subsidies provided under this scheme are considered to be payments under an environmental programme, which fall within the scope of Annex II of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and have been classified as ‘green box’.

2. As such, these subsidies are exempt from the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and the interim UK subsidy control regime.

Section L - contacts

Enquiries – Customer Contact Centre

For all enquiries, please contact the RPW Customer Contact Centre.

Enquiries can be submitted via RPW Online at any time.

Access to Welsh Government offices for people with disabilities or special needs

If you have any special needs which you feel are not met by our facilities contact the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004. Welsh Government officials will then endeavour to make arrangements to accommodate your requirements.

Welsh Government Website

For all of the latest Agricultural and Rural Affairs information, visit the Welsh Government’s website. By visiting the website, you can also sign up to receive the Rural Affairs e-newsletter which delivers the latest news directly to your e-mail inbox.

Gwlad

The Gwlad e-newsletter is the Welsh Government’s e-newsletter for farm and forestry businesses and all those involved with agriculture and rural Wales.  It contains news stories, guidance and information in an accessible, easy-to-read format.  To keep informed and up to date with all the latest agriculture news and developments in future we would encourage you to sign up to receive the Gwlad e-newsletter. You can do this either at Welsh Government announcements or at Subscribe to farming and forestry news on the Welsh Government website.