Reductions in support to Europe’s sometimes bloated dairy production industry should be handled efficiently in Ireland, where costs are already low, European Union agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler told an Irish Farmers’ Journal conference in Dublin.

Highlighting that Ireland already was “the lowest cost milk producer in Europe,” he said that he was “confident that Ireland can diversify into fresh and value-added dairy products for which the market is growing.”

Price cuts would give Irish producers a “more stable and predictable future” with direct payment compensation for production subsidy losses offering “the chance to adapt to current market realities.”

He added that with 76% of Irish farms in officially labelled poor areas, the industry could take advantage of planned increases in rural development spending.