Dale Farm, the commercial arm of leading Northern Ireland co-op United Dairy Farmers,  has announced that it has secured African export orders worth more than €4.72m for its new range of enriched milk powders.

The deal was completed at the Anuga International Food Exhibition in Cologne, Germany, last week where Dale Farm attended as part of the Invest Northern Ireland delegation.

Having just completed a €47m investment programme in its Northern Ireland processing plants, the biggest ever local investment in the dairy industry, Dale Farm has developed a number of new whey and milk powder-based nutritional products, which are enjoying strong sales growth both in domestic and export markets.

David Dobbin Dale Farm’s group chief executive said: “We launched our new range of enriched milk powders earlier this year and are seeing very strong growth, largely due to significant export contracts.  The high quality of Northern Ireland milk and dairy products means that international buyers have confidence in our products, and by investing heavily into our production facilities we now have the capability required to meet the growing global demand for specialist dairy nutritional products.”

“Our initial meeting with this customer took place at the Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai earlier this year, which we also attended with Invest Northern Ireland. That initial lead has resulted in this week’s export contract at the Anuga show to supply more than €4.7m of enriched milk powders to countries including Angola and Congo.

“We appreciate having the support of Invest NI behind us as we continue to seek out new markets and develop value-added products which will support the growth of our business, and the future of the farmers who supply it.”

United Dairy Farmers will host its AGM this evening. Last month saw the co-op pay its farmer suppliers a base price of 33.0 pence per litre (39 cent) ranking it third in the listing of farmgate milk prices paid out in the UK during September.

Earlier this year the co-op’s chairman John United’s chairman John Dunlop said that United was making good progress against its strategy to deliver a more competitive milk price: “United’s milk price has been much more competitive this year and we are well prepared for the ending of quotas in 2015. Our investment in Dale Farm has helped build a sustainable long term outlet for our farmers’ milk. After a very difficult year for farmers the prospects are more encouraging with stronger milk prices, better weather and feed prices starting to come down,” he said.

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