Abstract

The soil, nutrient and water conservation is the main problem faced by farmers and investigators under the corn crop-based systems in Central America and Mexico. Several farmers from Honduras have come up with an efficient technology for the corn planted on hills, in which the bean manure is planted in rotation with corn during the dry season. The results from the conducted survey, at the Departamento de Atlantida in Honduras, indicate that 66 % of the farmers grow most of the corn through the protective mat produced by the beans during the rainy season. Among the advantages of this rotation, compared to the traditional burned and cleared land, are the higher yields with les ser dependency of external imputs, shorter rest periods, lower land preparation costs, less soil erosion and lower risk of drought damages. The problems linked to the diffusion ofthe system include the risk ofland slides and a higher plague's incidence (rats) on the corn planted through the manure mat. Usually, the amount of land available in the regionalland markets is the determining factor on the diffusion of this system, and not the size of the farm nor the form of land tenancy.