Farmers' co-op to invest €20m in Saudi Arabia dairy venture
DAIRY farmers will see their marketing co-op sink €20m into a new cheese manufacturing facility in the Saudi capital Riyadh over the coming months.
The new co-op will import milk powder from Ireland, boosting our exports to the Middle Eastern country.
The Irish Dairy Board (IDB), which markets more than €2bn of products from the country's dairy co-ops, announced the joint venture with Saudi firm Al Wazeen yesterday.
The ceremony was attended by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, who is leading an Irish food trade mission to the Middle East this week.
The state-of-the-art plant, covering more than two acres on the outskirts of Riyadh, will harness patented technology developed by the Irish agricultural advisory body Teagasc over the past three years.
Dried milk powder will be exported from Ireland to the plant, where it will be used to produce a range of fresh cream cheeses popular across the Middle East.
It is just one of 300 different cheeses that have been under development at Teagasc's research centre in Moorepark in Co Cork over the past number of years as the Irish dairy industry gears up to increase milk production by 50pc by 2020.