Lakeland Dairies is to create 81 full-time food industry jobs as well as 180 construction jobs at a brand new milk powder processing plant in Bailieboro, Co Cavan, as part of a €36m investment.
The move comes two weeks after the Irish Government revealed it is investing €35m in two new technology centres in a strategy aimed at positioning Ireland as a world leader in dairy innovation.
Construction will begin immediately on the project, which is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.
Describing the €36m investment as a boost for Cavan and the Border region, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton TD said: “The removal of milk quotas later this year offers huge opportunities that we intend to exploit in a planned and strategic way in order to support jobs growth across every region in Ireland.”
He continued: “At the heart of our jobs plan is creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise alongside the strong multinational sector. Investment by Irish businesses like Lakeland Dairies is more likely to be in rural areas, and has a massive knock-on impact on the local economy, through construction, supply and service businesses. With continued implementation of our plan, I am determined to ensure that we can see more announcements like this in the coming years across every region of Ireland.”
Lakeland Dairies processes over 800m litres of farm produced milk annually into a wide range of value-added dairy foodservice products and food ingredients which it exports to over 70 countries worldwide.
Following the abolition of milk quotas later this year, annual milk supply to Lakeland Dairies is expected to increase by some 40pc to over 1 billion litres by 2020. The development by Lakeland Dairies is designed to ensure that the co-operative is well positioned to take advantage of all future market opportunities for its milk producers.
The expansion will see the installation of a new 7 tonne per hour milk drying facility at Bailieboro where total milk powder production capacity will increase to 19 tonnes per hour.
Lakeland currently produces 80,000 tonnes of milk powders a year and this will rise to 130,000 tonnes on completion of the project in 2016.
The co-operative also produces 24,000 tonnes of butter on the same site which provides for considerable flexibility in milk throughput and overall economies of scale for the food ingredients business.
“Growth in our global dairy ingredients business is being fuelled by consumer trends and developments in food industry sectors where we have access to key markets and customers throughout the world,” explained Lakelands Dairies’ Group CEO Michael Hanley.
“Over the past five years we have transformed our processing capabilities and have also underpinned our future export potential with new global logistics facilities. The expansion of our operations at Bailieboro will create further advantages for our milk producers. In particular, we see continuing opportunity in the areas of infant formulae, dairy proteins and health related nutritional products, among other categories, where we are a globally recognised leading supplier of the highest quality milk powders.”
Dairy image via Shutterstock