Dairy giant Glanbia is to invest €157m (£133m) in a major new dairy powder plant in Belview, south-east Ireland, creating 1,600 new jobs.

The company said the move – which is part-funded by the Irish government – would be worth €400m a year to the Irish economy. A further 450 jobs would be created during the construction phase, which begins on 17 May.

The new site is expected to start production in spring 2015, and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland CEO Jim Bergin said all products made at Belview would be destined for export markets, with the plant supplying “a range of nutritional powders to an increasing number of regions including the Middle East, Africa, Central America and Asia”.

The Irish government has put forward ambitious growth plans for its dairy industry, as the European Union gears up to remove quota restrictions in 2015. Agriculture minister Simon Coveney said: “This project will ensure that a key part of the infrastructure necessary to support a dramatic expansion in milk production is in place when milk quotas are abolished. It has government support, and is a vote of confidence in the resilience and capacity of the Irish dairy sector, which has built up an export track record in markets worldwide.”

Pictured is Glanbia’s Food Ingredients plant in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny, Ireland.