Ireland-based North Cork Co-operative Creameries has officially opened its €5m new milk powder processing plant in Kanturk, County Cork.

The move is to meet the growing demand among consumers for its dairy products and is in line with the impending abolition of milk quotas in 2015.

The new plant has a capability to process two tonnes per hour of spray dried milk powders.

North Cork Co-operative Creameries CEO Pat Sheahan said this investment is important to the dairying community throughout the region and is very important in addressing the needs of their customers on whom their business depends.

"It allows us to benefit from reduced processing costs while improving our long-term competitiveness and strengthening our market presence with world class products," Sheahan added.

"The plant is fully commissioned and ready to run for the peak milk production season and is already producing powders of an excellent quality and consistency. It will provide improved revenue streams and it gives us the flexibility to divert milk into the highest yielding product categories in line with market demands.

"Casein production operations have also been upgraded to the highest standards which will further enhance the quality of our offer. This improves our readiness and capability to meet growing milk supply and market demand in the future while paying the highest possible milk price to our producers that market conditions will allow."

Minister for Agriculture food and marine Simon Coveney TD said through this innovative investment, North Cork has built an impressive facility making food ingredient products to the highest international quality standards.

"This development has contributed to overall enhanced competitiveness and capacity which will be important when milk quota restrictions are lifted next year," Coveney added.