- 24 September 2012
Organic producers in Ireland have been told that the recent trials of GM potatoes in the country are not at odds with organic growing. "Knowledge is the only armour we have against a world of uncertainty," Teagasc director Gerry Boyle told 150 organic farmers and growers at the National Organic Conference in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
He said that communications he had with organic producers since the trials were granted permission had been "lively." He said Teagasc valued its independence and was not undertaking the trials for commercial gains.
"Good research cannot be about pre-determining outcomes," said Prof Boyle, insisting that the farming research body must engage in diverse research of potential options available to farmers. Gillian Westbrook of the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association said having a GM crop trial was at odds with efforts to promote Ireland’s green image.
Boyle disagreed, saying there was no contradiction between Teagasc’s GM research and its research and advocacy role relating to organic production.
"There is a lot of emotion around this issue and our job as a scientific and research-based organisation is to bring scientific knowledge to bear on the claims that are made from all sides.
"We are not advocates. It’s up to consumers and producers to decide on the basis of the evidence what products they want."
He issued an open invitation to the more than 150 conference-goers to question Teagasc scientists at Oak Park.