Dale Farm announces jobs boost

Published Wednesday, 10 March 2010
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Sixty jobs are to be created by Dale Farm as part of the biggest ever investment by a single company in Northern Ireland's diary sector.

Announcing the investment, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the £39m cash injection will benefit 2,000 dairy farmers and rural communities across the region.

Dale Farm said a £36m investment at its procession plants at Dunmanbridge, Cookstown, and at Pennybridge and Cullybackey near Ballymena will create 43 new jobs and safeguard 215 existing jobs out of Dale Farm's 400-strong workforce.

"This £36m investment by Dale Farm is of strategic importance not only to the company but also to the dairy sector", Mrs Foster said.

"It will give the company the capability to increase exports and the potential to process new and innovative products to meet the ever changing demands of customers and consumers."

A further £3.25m investment in a new bottle in-plant facility at Dale Farm's Pennybridge site will create at least 17 manufacturing positions, the company said.

The two projects supported by Invest Northern Ireland were announced as Mrs Forster visited the Dunmanbridge plant near Cookstown, where she officially opened a new £5m state of the art cheddar cheese making facility.

"Both investments are a vote of confidence in the future of both the dairy industry and the agri-food sector by everyone involved.

"My Department and Invest NI are committed to the successful future of the Northern Ireland agri-food industry and the Invest NI support offered towards both projects is testament to this."

Dale Farm currently processes over 20% of local milk output.

"This major investment programme will help us to (...) supply major retailers and foodservice and ingredients customers in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland", Dale Farm's Group Chief Executive David Dobbin said.

UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Tom Elliott, has said that the benefits of the investments must be enjoyed by local farmers.

"My major concern is to ensure that this money makes a meaningful difference for dairy farmers across the province", Mr Elliott said.

"Having battled against market conditions for months, farmers are in serious need of every assistance in dealing with the immense pressure that the industry has been facing."

© UTV News
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