Talking Biotech: Cornell's Ronald Herring rebukes GMO link to Indian farmer suicides

In discussion of genetically engineered crops there is frequent reference to farmer suicides in India. Claims are made that Indian farmers build massive debt for cotton seeds, they become beholden to Monsanto for the money, and then kill themselves.

This story is repeated ad nauseam by Vandana Shiva and others that exploit the untimely deaths of farmers for political gain and to fuel anti-biotechnology sentiment.

Dr. Ronald Herring, a professor of government and international professor of agriculture and rural development at Cornell University, is a social scientist who has studied farmer suicides in India. On the podcast, Herring discusses the complexities of the reasons behind suicides and the role BT cotton has played in Indian agriculture. Guest host Kavin Senapathy interviews Herring and provides perspective of a first-generation Indian-American in the discussion.


Kavin Senapathy is a science writer and mom, who frequently writes for Forbes and other venues. Her twitter handle is @ksenapathy.

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