Plant Research International will be opening its trial plots of genetically modified potatoes to the public on 25 August. Visitors can find out about a potato that has been rendered resistant to disease, as well as about plant breeding in organic agriculture. 'One of the things we will show is that the one programme is highly relevant to the other', says initiator Bert Lotz.
You don't see that often: an open day on genetic modification.
'We held an open evening last year too, but that targeted people in the region. That went so well that we have now drawn attention to it more widely.'
In the past you were a lot more reticent, with possible protests against genetic modification in mind.
'The potato disease is a serious problem and genetic modification is a way of solving it. There is debate about that so it is important that a research organization like us makes clear what it is doing. Everyone has been invited, including Greenpeace. We want to be open and transparent. Everyone should form their own opinion and after the guided tour of the trial field there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion.'
You can even compare organic agriculture with GM agriculture at the open day.
'That is unique in the world. We show the potential of two different techniques side by side, and they have even been developed by the same researchers, to some extent.'