March 11, 2015
Sugarcane - Kidney Disease

Photo©2015 Ed Kashi/VII


In a recent National Geographic Weekend Radio Show episode, one segment features an interview with Ed Kashi (VII) about the epidemic of kidney disease among sugarcane workers in Central America. “Sugarcane is one of the biggest crops in Central America, but harvesting the cane is killing people by the thousand. Filmmaker Ed Kashi, whose recent short documentary “Under Cane” focuses on Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, says that 33% of men in that town die young from end stage renal failure related to working in the fields. The real tragedy is that these deaths are potentially avoidable; there is evidence that more water and rest could prevent many of these cases.”

Sugarcane - Kidney Disease

Photo©2015 Ed Kashi/VII


Ed Kashi is quoted, “I can’t tell you what it’s like to be in the situation where in this town virtually everyday there’s a funeral for a sugarcane worker, and a lot of these people they’re not in their 50s and 60s they’re in their 30s. And we all consume sugar. The United States takes almost 50 % of Nicaragua’s sugar output, so we’re all complicit in this.”

Listen to the full broadcast of this segment here.

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