Irish dairy firm Ornua has opened a new packing factory in Lagos, Nigeria, to boost marketing of powdered milk products in the country.

The firm intends to export its Irish milk powder to the Nigerian facility, where it will be packed under the Kerrygold brand.

Powders under the dairy brand Kerrygold are usually sold through small distributors in small sachets, pouches or tins.

The new centre is a part of Ornua’s series of major global investments, which are aimed to expand the market reach worldwide.

"The opening of our Kerrygold facility in Nigeria is another important step in our growth plans for Africa."

It has been set up under a joint venture between Ornua and distribution and packing partners Fareast Mercantile.

Ornua CEO Kevin Lane 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.

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"Importantly for Irish dairy farmers, this development offers an enhanced route to market for the additional forecasted milk volumes."

Nigeria ranks among the top three importers for powdered milk products across Africa and is the largest importer of full-fat milk powder.

The country imported 166,000t of milk powder products last year, and has a €455m retail market for the products.

Ireland Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Simon Coveney said: "This factory shows further evidence of the innovative thinking that will drive the Irish dairy sector forward."

Image: Kerrygold powders are usually available in small sachets, pouches or tins. Photo: courtesy of Ornua.