Two French cooperatives, Eurial-Poitouraine Terra-Laita and another dairy firm, Celia, are behind a EUR€56m (US$58) project to build a production plant for mozzarella at Herbignac, near Nantes in Western France, in response to growing worldwide demand for this type of cheese.

The plant could be in service by 2008 and process up to 300 million litres of milk annually as well as creating 110 jobs and providing a ready market for around 1,000 of the region’s producers.

The three partners, who could be joined by a fourth firm, are looking to finance up to 40% of the project through EU aid in the form of restructuring grants to the agricultural sector.