Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has predicted a 100% increase in Irish dairy industry output within ten to 15 years.
He said the Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Belview facility in Waterford, opened last week, is emblematic of the wider ambition in the Irish dairy sector.
Belview will contribute an estimated 400 million per year to the economy, accommodating an expected 63% increase in milk production up to 2020 by Glanbia’s 4,800 milk suppliers.
Belview will manufacture specialised milk powder products and nutritional ingredients to meet the demands of multi-nationals in infant formula and other industries operating in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America.
With support from the Department of Jobs via Enterprise Ireland, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s investment programme of over 235m represents the largest indigenous infrastructure investment made by an Irish company in 80 years.
Minister Coveney said the biggest local investments for many years are being made by dairy processors — such as Dairygold Co-op in Mallow and Mitchelstown; Kerry Group and Beingmate in Charleville.
“Nationally, we can conservatively predict that the next five years of dairy expansion will deliver approximately 10,000 new jobs in rural Ireland.” He said Ireland’s plan for a 50% increase in milk volume in five years in unmatched in the EU; other member states expect no more than 20% extra milk.
He intends to establish a forum for key dairy stakeholders to monitor progress, focusing on milk quality, animal health and welfare, farm productivity, mitigating the impact of price volatility, and improving access to credit.
He said one of the essentials for dairy farmers is to move from a conacre to a long-term lease system.“One simply cannot build a dairy herd while leasing land for 11 or 12 month periods at a time, given the lack of certainty.”
At the Belview opening, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland CEO Jim Bergin said Ireland was one of the fastest growing milk production areas in the world from 1975 to 1984, followed by 30 years of quota stagnation, and the Glanbia investment in Belview now unlocks the great potential of Irish milk suppliers.
“Currently this small island supplies 10% of the world’s infant milk formula,” added the Glanbia Ingredients Ireland CEO.
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