Tuesday, October 3, 2017
FARMER INCOME IN 1901
I came across a record of a farmer's sales to a local merchant on Guam in the year 1901.
What were some common items farmers sold to merchants to be sold in stores, and what prices did they fetch?
The farmer and his brother, first of all, were paid for their labor. One peso for the farmer and a little more, a peso and 50 céntimos, for the brother, perhaps for working longer hours.
Copra was a high-value commodity for most of that period. The farmer received 7 pesos and 20 céntimos for 240 pounds of copra (dried coconut meat). The Japanese bought plenty of copra, which was used mainly for the oil extracted from the dried meat. That oil was used in soap, shampoo, cosmetics and many other things.
The farmer also sold ten pounds of meat, two pesos worth. Three hundred pounds of actual coconuts brought in 9 pesos and 75 céntimos. Lastly, half a barrel of honey sold for 5 pesos. So here we have evidence that some farmers kept honey bees on Guam at the time.
This farmer made 26 pesos and 45 céntimos. That was not a bad sum in those days. You could buy a modest house of wood and thatched roofing for that amount.