Basically, Santiago City has an agricultural-based economy. Being a major source of income of its inhabitants (90% of the total population are farmers) agriculture plays a pivotal role in its economic development. A total of 16,607 ha. classified as farmlands are planted with palay, corn, root crops and vegetables. Other potential agricultural sources of income are livestock, poultry and fish production. 84% of the total farmland devoted to rice are irrigated, the rest are either irrigable or non-irrigated.
Commercialization of the F1 Hybrid Seed
The city government adopted the parental AxR Hybrid rice seed production as its flagship program for agriculture, which produces the offspring F1 Hybrid rice seed. This rice variety makes phenomenal yield of 249 per ha. doubling the income of Santiago City farmers per cropping, and is expected to bring Santiago City over 2 billion in income and also additional taxes of 17 million and the national government of 33 million per year. Two years after the initial phase of the program, the same agricultural technology has made China one of the world's biggest rice exporters.
Commerce and Trade
Santiago City has evolved to be the commercial and trading center of the Cagayan Valley. Today, there are 3,401 commercial establishments in Santiago City which include 2,124 wholesalers and retailers combined; 18 insurance companies and 19 insurance agencies; 125 financial institutions including banks, pawnshops, cooperatives and lending investors; 49 real estate lessors and the rest are real estate brokers, estate developers and those engaged in services. many of these enterprises and business establishments offer a variety of goods and services not available in neighboring provinces or towns. Hence, people from these areas flock the bustling Central Business District of the City.
The expansion of the City Market made it one of the biggest distribution centers in the Philippines. Commodities sold in this booming market come from Santiago and the surrounding towns. Other supplies pour in from nearby provinces such as Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao and Mountain Province. Sources of other goods are from manila, Nueva Ecija, Baguio and Pangasinan. Goods include vegetables, fruits, fish/shells, meat, chicken and dried fishes.
Industries engage in either manufacturing or non-manufaturing activities. The construction firms are categorized as non-manufacturing activities. The major manufacturing industries in the city are manufacturing/repackaging, food processing/factories, iron works, bakeries, furnitures and fixtures, rice milling, tailoring and dress shops, printing and welding and machine shops.