The Citrus Industry of Batangas Province by Cornelio V. Umali, 1924 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

The Citrus Industry of Batangas Province by Cornelio V. Umali, 1924

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1924 ethnographic paper written by one Cornelio V. Umali from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.
Henry Otley-Beyer Collecdtion
[Cover page.]

Customary Law Paper No. 198.

(Extracts from)


Cornelio V. Umali

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(Selected by F. D. Holloman; Manila, June, 1931. Ser.F.5)

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  1. Methods of picking and handling citrus fruits.
  2. Marketing, and relations between buyer and planter.
  3. (Whole thesis, 58 pp. legal size, illustrated; local; Thesis catalogue #124; Business Library No. SB369.U48.cop.1.)

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January 10, 1924.

[p. 1]

Serial Letter F.

No. 5.

(Thesis for the Degree of B. S. in Commerce,
College of Lib. Arts, University of the Philippines)
By Cornelio V. Umali.
Manila, Jan. 1924. EXTRACTS


METHODS OF PICKING AND HANDLING CITRUS FRUITS. An orange tree yields from 100 to 1,000 fruits yearly and if the tree bears less fruits than the figures first stated, they are not considered productive. (1) After the blooming sea-

(1) Interview – Juan Katigbak of Tanauan.

son when small buds have already formed, the owners and middlemen begin to make negotiations and to close the contract of sale of the whole product expected from the grove. Each party makes his visit to the groves, inspects the conditions of the developing buds and makes estimates of the total fruits upon which the offer and acceptance is based. The owner is always anxious to make the sale right away and in fact he only bases his acceptance of the offer from the previous year’s sales. After the purchaser has closed the deal, he incurs the risk of any loss in the fruits until they are picked. He makes visits to the plantation from time to time or employs paid watchers near the plantation to protect the groves from any injuries. Due to the low prices that the middlemen pay to the planters, there is little danger of losing in any of their contracts……………

The purchaser spends a very significant amount of money in the process of picking, which if at all, does not play an important factor in the rise and fall of the prices of the fruits in the retail markets. As has been said, the country people are non-skilled and are satisfied with the

[p. 2]

little pay given them. These people love to climb and play with the trees loaded with fruits during the time they have nothing to do at home. Picking season always comes after harvesting the more important crops of the Philippine islands, when the country people are doing nothing so that, they are willing to work anything even with a very small pay...............

The Batangas planters are using the most primitive methods in the sale of their fruits. It is at this point that the farmers are in a bad position in their relation to that of the other party, the middlemen or fruit dealers. There is hardly cooperation among the fruit growers in a view to get high prices from their plantation and it is sad to say that there are scams to be any sign of movement or step to remedy the present situation. Planters customarily just take a glance at the thickness of the fruits, compare the thickness to that of the previous years and then base the money they are supposed to receive from the comparison of the same. The planters are indifferent to the returns they receive from their groves and, in fact, they are easily satisfied with the uniform and little returns they received from year to year. They do not care whether the prices of their fruits will be hire afterwards, and whether they are well convinced that they are exploited by the middleman from the prices for which the fruits are purchased, still they make their sale separately as early as they could. The owners want to free themselves from any risk of loss that may occur in the plantation and, therefore, prefer to get the prices of their lands in cash as soon as possible, small they might be. (1)

It appears that the growers give good reasons in adopting that method of

(1) Personal experience and interviews.

sale. In the first place, it had been their custom brought from their fore-

[p. 3]

fathers, and as there had been no improvements in their plantation visible for years and years that might encourage or arouse their interest to find a better means of selling the fruit while it is still in the trees. It is simply that lack of interest (2) in the industry, otherwise, they must have solved the

(2) Personal experience and interviews with friends.

conditions so deplorable. Furthermore, since those citrus groves are mostly located in barrios far from the towns, the owners cannot make constant visits to the groves and for that reason, they are in earnest to give up any responsibility by selling them as soon as possible. But the other party, the middleman, has been and is always ready to take advantage of the opportunity...............

Some buyers come and bid from your two year so that they know at least the basis of the bid. Sometimes, agents of the same capitalist may control a wide territory and enter into contracts with all the growers in the territory. In this case, the agents can fix as low prices as they wish because there is no competition. The growers are always willing to receive low prices from what they expect to receive in consideration of the risk that the purchaser has to assume and the long time that he has to wait until the fruits are ripe...............

After the contract with the planters has been closed and advances have been made, the buyer is free to resale the ownership anytime he finds another purchaser who is willing to pay him with a difference in his favor. In majority of cases, ownership of a certain grove may have been transferred from two to seven hands. And this is true when the fruit is promising. Before the fruit is mature, the price of the grove reaches from fifty to seventy percent above that of the first purchase price, from what the farmer received...............

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “The Citrus Industry in Batangas Province,” by Cornelio V. Umali, 1924, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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