2. Vegetable Farming and Trading
Central to the growth of the municipality’s economic status since the post war years has been the vegetable industry. Buguias is literally a municipality of vegetable plantation with gardens covering plateaus, mesas, and strips of leveled plots along creeks and gentle slopes. Buguias has emerged as the highland vegetable capital of the Philippines from where carrots, potatoes, cabbages, pechay, wombok, beans and other vegetables are transported to such as La Trinidad, Baguio City, Dagupan City, Laoag, Metro Manila, and other provinces in the Philippines.
Early in the 1950s, a group of Chinese farmers rented some of the fields of farmers like Almora and Toyaoan for experimental culture of Virginia Tobacco at Modaya, Loo. When the experimental project failed, the Chinese farmers turned to vegetable gardening either on the basis of leasehold or sharing. In due time, the Chinese farmers and financiers were able to dominate the vegetable industry in the community.
From Chinese farmers, the marketing system of vegetable “Supply System” was also passed to the local farmers. This is a system whereby farmers obtain loans from financiers, in cash or in kind (farm inputs like fertilizers, chemicals and seeds). The loan is payable during harvest. The financier may also provide trucking facilities on credit. During harvest, all expenses incurred will be deducted from the net share of the farmer.
Crops are harvested and transported to Baguio or Manila through any of the trucks, which the farmer either rents or owns. All vegetable shipments are sold by consignment, however, such that the farmer gets from the financier whatever else he may need in advance.
Aside from the supply and sharing systems practiced in the Buguias Vegetable Industry, the “Pakyawan” is a system whereby a trader serves as financier to one or several small farmers, from different barrios or sitios, from whom he constantly purchases vegetables. The financier provides to the farmer the farm inputs on condition that the farmer/s sell the harvests to him on cash or consignment basis, either to be delivered by the farmer or picked up by the financier. There are other trading practices, usually a combination of the two practices or with new innovations.