Organic Agriculture as a Sustainable Solution to Chronic Kidney Disease Unidentified (CKDu)

Hemanthi Ranasinghe

Abstract


Chronic Kidney Disease Unidentified (CKDu) is a rare form of tubule- interstitial disease involves slow, asymptomatic progressive kidney damage over 3 or more months, making diagnosis and treatment difficult. Nearly 80% of patients experience total kidney failure within 2 years following diagnosis. According to the Ministry of Health (2016) the total deaths due to renal failure had shown a decrease from 2,215 in 2011 to 2,147 in 2014. The total number of patients in the high risk areas have been recorded as 21,452. Over the past 12 years numerous studies have been undertaken by a range of institutions in relation to the problem and, as a result, a body of research has been established. While there is still considerable debate and conjecture over the causal factors contributing to the development of CKDu, there are facts supported by information that provide insights into the disease. Among the most significant causal factors, the long term exposure to contaminated (with heavy metals) drinking water accentuated by the natural hardness and fluoride content of the same, long term exposure to agrochemicals including sub optimal applications of them without wearing protective gear, occupations such as farming which includes long hours of exposure to the sun and agrochemicals, low socio economic status including income and education, lifestyle habits which include smoking, consumption of illicit liquor and microalbuminuria etc. had been documented by researchers. Resorting to organic agriculture which is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people, has been identified as a sustainable solution to the prevention/reduction of the disease. As most of the lands are under conventional farming a transition period is required. Among the most important factors which needs to be looked into in the context of organic farming, management of soil fertility, weed control, pest and disease control, farm animal integration and finally going for certification, regulation and standards are key. Despite numerous challenges to adopt organic agriculture country has been provided with a concerted directive and leadership in adopting this especially in the aftermath of the killer disease, CKDu. In this context the launching of the national programme titled ‘Towards a Toxin Free Country’ and a three year plan had been prepared to achieve this target are significant. A separate institution had been established under the President to coordinate these activities. This paper elaborates the methodologies to be adopted in this transition from inorganic to organic agriculture to achieve long term sustainability in agriculture and natural resources management sectors and also to effectively manage Chronic Kidney Disease unidentified in which long term exposure to agrochemicals had been identified as a significant causal factor. 

KEYWORDS: Chronic Kidney Disease Unidentified, organic agriculture, agrochemicals, soil fertility, Toxin Free Country


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International Journal of multidisciplinary Studies, University of Sri Jayewardnepura, Sri Lanka