Dutch dairy companies will invest more than 700 million euros (910 million U.S. dollars) in processing plants in the Netherlands in the next two years, a study carried out by the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) showed Thursday. \"The dairy industry is an important economic sector. It guarantees billions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs,\" said Minister of Economic Affairs Sharon Dijksma, who received the report Thursday. According to NZO, most of the money is invested in factories for baby food and cheese, but innovation centers will also be built. It is expected that these investments will create at least 1,000 new jobs. The Dutch dairy sector accounts for 44,000 jobs. The total production value of dairy farming and the dairy industry is estimated at 4.3 billion euros and 6.4 billion euros respectively. The study showed that the dairy sector has become bigger than before the economic crisis, mainly due to exports. The export value of dairy products is growing by an average of 7 percent per year. In 2012, the total export of goods such as cheese, butter, milk and milk powder was estimated at 5.9 billion euros. According to NZO, the Dutch dairy industry will benefit from the growing demand for dairy products in the world. Exports to countries such as China, Russia and Nigeria have increased between 2000 and 2012 by an average of 11 to 17 percent per year. In addition, the willingness to make major investments is related to the imminent abolition of the European milk quotas in 2015, giving many dairy farmers scope to increase milk production.