To this date, there is no recognized formal scientific study that establishes a relationship of causality between sugarcane cultural practices and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Nonetheless, ANAIRC persists in its defamation campaign against Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited (NSEL) and Grupo Pellas, with the objective of demanding compensation without submitting any evidence to support its claims.
All trade unions that are present in the San Antonio sugar mill, regardless of their political or ideological leanings, have rejected ANAIRC’s campaign and have made public statements and demonstrations where thousands of workers have participated.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global public health problem. In Nicaragua, it affects several areas throughout the country, especially in the west region, including territories with no sugarcane production.
The data on sickness and death rates that ANAIRC talks about has not been corroborated by any public or private Nicaraguan institution.
In the case of the San Antonio sugar mill, former workers affected by CKD were temporary workers, who also engaged in other types of agricultural activities. Many of them only worked during some harvest seasons and stopped working for the company several years ago.
In the country’s west region, CKD cases have been detected in different occupational groups, including sugarcane workers, miners, banana workers, stevedores and even school children.
While ILO has not classified chronic kidney disease as an occupational disease, its recognition as such by our legislation does not mean that it is caused by sugarcane activity. Each case must be assessed by a medical committee. CKD is commonly caused by high blood pressure and diabetes, which are not linked in any way to sugarcane cultivation.
ASOCHIVIDA, the organization that represents most of the renal patients, and NSEL have been holding for over a year a positive dialogue on chronic kidney disease and on the best way to help the sick.
ASOCHIVIDA and NSEL agreed that an impartial and prestigious international institution would conduct a study to determine the causes of CKD in Nicaragua’s west region.
After a comprehensive process involving 9 public agencies, 22 U.S. and European universities and 5 private consulting firms, Boston University was chosen to conduct the study.
The final results of the study will provide important knowledge about the causes of this disease in the west region, and the best way to articulate strategies for prevention and response.
In keeping with its corporate social responsibility, Nicaragua Sugar has provided support and solidarity to the people in the nearby communities who have been affected by CKD.
Between 2000 and 2004, Nicaragua Sugar delivered humanitarian and economic aid totally approximately $2 million to more than 1,400 CKD patients who worked for the company in the past.
Nicaragua Sugar currently provides food aid to 1,800 families that are members of ASOCHIVIDA, as well as medical assistance to the Chichigalpa health center for CKD patients, consisting of medical drugs, equipment and supplies.
ANAIRC has turned down various invitations to participate with ASOCHIVIDA, Nicaragua Sugar, NGOs and health institutions in the west region in the joint actions that are being promoted to benefit people who have been affected by this disease.
It is not with misinformation and defamation campaigns that a solution is found to the problems.