Countries of the global south

Especially in countries of the global south, the use of genetically modified foods is intended to bring about an improvement in living standards.
Genetic modifications are supposed to produce higher yields, pest resistance and an improved ability to withstand adverse weather conditions, hence helping to relieve the supply shortages in countries of the global south.

Critics, however, assert that the introduction of genetically modified foods increases small farmers' dependence on multinational corporations, often causing the situation to deteriorate. They point to the rise in the suicide rate among farmers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh which is supposedly attributable to the introduction of genetically modified cotton (Bt cotton) in 2002 by the manufacturer Monsanto. 

Recent studies have not found a direct link, pointing out that the suicide rate in Andhra Pradesh has already risen a few times before 2002 and that the Indian state Kerala also has a high suicide rate among farmers even though no Bt cotton is cultivated there.

However, researchers found a definite link between the suicide rate and economic factors to which the cultivation of Bt cotton may contribute. Bt cotton is comparatively expensive but does not necessarily produce higher yields. Farmers incur massive debts by purchasing seeds and pesticides which in turn contributes to a higher suicide rate. The link between high debts and a high suicide rate can also be observed in Kerala.

Overview article on the link between biotechnology and the suicide rate among Indian farmers:

Gigesh, Th. / De Tavernier, J. (2017): Farmer-suicide in India: debating the role of biotechnology. Life Sciences, Society and Policy 13 (8). doi:10.1186%2Fs40504-017-0052-z Online Version 
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