Ornua, has opened a new Kerrygold packing factory in Nigeria.

The facility will provide a new route to market for Irish powdered milk, which will be exported to Nigeria and then packaged and marketed under the Kerrygold brand.

Kerrygold powders are sold in small sachets, pouches or tins, primarily through small distributors. The facility was opened in Lagos by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney who is leading a trade mission to Nigeria.

In 2013, Ornua opened its African headquarters in Port Elizabeth to further strengthen its foothold in the African market. It currently employs 250 people both directly and indirectly.

The new facility is a joint venture between Ornua and distribution and packing partners, Fareast Mercantile Company Limited (FMCL).

This investment in Nigeria is the latest in a series of major global investments by Ornua as it seeks to expand routes to market for Irish dairy produce.

Recent major investments include the development of new and expanded production and innovation facilities in Ireland, North America, Germany, Spain, the UK and Saudi Arabia.

Kevin Lane, Ornua CEO said, the opening of our Kerrygold facility in Nigeria is another important step in our growth plans for Africa.

“Nigeria is a young, vibrant country and one in which we see a real opportunity to grow the Kerrygold brand. We are delighted to be working with our joint venture partners FMCL and look forward to building on our existing relationships in Nigeria. Importantly for Irish dairy farmers, this development offers an enhanced route to market for the additional forecasted milk volumes.”

Minister Simon Coveney said Ornua is once again leading the way for Irish dairy farmers.

“Ireland’s ambition to increase dairy production and gain a greater share of the global market requires innovation not only in terms of product development, but also in terms of how that product is brought to market.

“This factory shows further evidence of the innovative thinking that will drive the Irish dairy sector forward.”

Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. Significantly for Irish dairy exports, Nigeria is one of the top three importers of powdered milk products in Africa and the largest importer of full-fat milk powder.

In 2014, Nigeria imported 166,000 tonnes of milk powder products, with the retail market alone valued at €455m.