How Besana Connects Mexico's Farmers to Ancient Traditions

The ancient agricultural tradition of besana in Mexico. Explore the significance, history, and modern-day relevance of this parallel furrow technique, rooted in sustainable land management and cultural heritage.

How Besana Connects Mexico's Farmers to Ancient Traditions
A farmer plows the land, creating parallel furrows using the besana technique, a traditional agricultural practice in Mexico.

In Mexico's diverse cultural landscape, certain traditions serve as profound reminders of the nation's historical roots. One such tradition is "besana," an intriguing agricultural technique with ancient origins. Derived from the Latin word "versre," meaning "to return," besana involves the creation of parallel furrows using a plow. This article delves into the significance, history, and relevance of besana in modern-day Mexico, shedding light on its enduring presence in the country's agricultural practices.

Origin and Purpose of Besana

Besana traces its roots back to pre-Hispanic times when Mesoamerican civilizations flourished across Mexico's fertile lands. Indigenous cultures extensively employed this agricultural technique to prepare the soil for cultivation. The term "besana" specifically refers to the process of creating parallel furrows, which allowed for efficient water distribution and soil management. By delicately plowing the land, farmers ensured that each furrow ran parallel to optimize space and resources for cultivation.

Significance and Cultural Context

Besana holds great significance not just in terms of agricultural efficiency but also within Mexico's broader cultural context. This practice represents a profound connection to the land, embodying the harmonious relationship between humans and nature cherished by indigenous communities. The deliberate act of creating parallel furrows reflects a deep understanding of the land's potential and the necessity to maximize resources for sustaining communities.

Tradition and Promoting Sustainability

Although modern farming methods and technology have gradually replaced traditional practices like besana, some rural communities in Mexico continue to honor this age-old technique. These farmers recognize the inherent value of besana, which offers several sustainable advantages over conventional farming methods. The parallel furrows created through besana help prevent soil erosion, ensure optimal water distribution, and promote better nutrient absorption by crops. Embracing this ancient practice allows farmers to preserve cultural heritage while prioritizing sustainable land management.

Besana's Role in Modern Agriculture

Despite being perceived as a relic of the past, besana's principles and techniques have found relevance in modern agricultural practices. The efficient use of resources and the emphasis on sustainability that besana embodies remain significant in today's context of climate change and environmental concerns. Elements of besana, such as contour plowing, have been integrated into contemporary farming approaches, showcasing the enduring wisdom of ancient techniques.

A Call for Recognition and Research

As Mexico faces the challenges of the 21st century, it becomes crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the enduring value of besana. Preserving cultural traditions like this ancient agricultural practice not only pays tribute to Mexico's rich heritage but also offers valuable insights into sustainable farming practices. Supporting research initiatives that delve deeper into the history, techniques, and potential adaptations of besana is essential to ensure its continued relevance and contribution to Mexico's agricultural landscape.


Besana, derived from the Latin word "versre," is a time-honored agricultural tradition that signifies Mexico's deep connection with the land. Through the creation of parallel furrows using a plow, besana embodies the wisdom and sustainability of ancient farming practices. While modernization has brought changes to Mexico's agricultural sector, besana continues to inspire and find relevance in contemporary approaches. By recognizing and preserving this tradition, Mexico can celebrate its rich cultural heritage while embracing sustainable land management practices for a brighter and more resilient future.