When the seed has germinated it is sown, and it produces plants capable of bearing the heat of the sun better than those which spring up in the shade in coffee-plantations. In this country five thousand three hundred coffee-trees are generally planted in a fanega of ground, amounting to five thousand four hundred and seventy-six square toises.
In these transactions many ridiculous things happened, and many jests were played. Afterward our men began to give them nails, which the Indians liked so well that they desired nothing else after that. They would smell them before taking them. For each nail they gave measures of rice containing about half a fanéga, more or less.
From 1730 to 1748, the company sent to Spain eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight fanegas, which make, on an average, forty-seven thousand seven hundred fanegas a-year; the price of the fanega fell, in 1732, to forty-five piastres, when it had before kept at eighty piastres.
The corn was three current dollars per fanega, which is full five shillings per bushel; and biscuit at twenty-five shillings for the hundred pounds. Poultry was so scarce that a good fowl cost three shillings.
These machines, however imperfect, are very useful, and they begin to be imitated in other Missions. The soil of Guanaguana is not less fertile than that of Aricagua, a small neighbouring village, which has also preserved its ancient Indian name. An almuda of land, 1850 square toises, produces in abundant years from 25 to 30 fanegas of maize, each fanega weighing 100 pounds.
So the messenger departed with the letter. And the famine in the town waxed greater, and food was not now bought by the cafiz, neither by the fanega, but by ounces, or at most by the pound.
Estimating a fanega of cacao at only twenty-five piastres for the price given at Cadiz, we find that the total value of the exportation of cacao, by the six ports of the Capitania General of Caracas, amounts to four million eight hundred thousand piastres.
Barbary dried peas are exported principally to Spain, paying a dollar the quintal. Fez flour pays one dollar and a half per fanega; dates pay five dollars the quintal; fowls and eggs, the former two dollars per dozen, the latter two dollars per thousand; oranges and lemons pay a dollar the thousand. Gold is brought from Soudan over the Desert, and is sometimes exported.
Of grain, wheat pays an export duty of three-fourths of a dollar per fanega, or about a quintal. Barley is not exported, there being scarcely enough for home consumption.
Every cochineal-plantation must have a house with windows facing the south, and freely admitting the light an indispensable condition. At this season the proportion of seed is calculated at 30 boxes of 40 lbs. each, or a total of 1,200 lbs. per fanega, the latter being equivalent to a half-hectare.