Onion farmers have been encouraged by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) to mechanize their operations to cope up with the shortage of production output. PHilMech is introducing the use of their newly developed Multi-Row-Onion Mechanical Seeder (MROS). Now in commercial production, MROS was designed to plant 10 or 12 rows of onion seeds and marketed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MROS is being suggested to the onion farmers hoping to plant higher density of onions and enhance capabilities for bed forming.

A researcher accredited with the PHiLMech-Postharvest Systems and Analysis Department noted that the “biggest benefits of utilizing the MROS is reduction of the labor requirement for sowing onion seeds. from a high of 42 to as low as one using the MROS.” Accordingly, “the labor cost on onion farming, not using MROS is about40 percent of the cost of production.” Also, MROS can sow onion seeds with uniform distance and with higher density, assuring more uniform growth and development of onions, assuring better harvesting terms of quality and quantity.” Some features of MROS are as follows:

– The 10 row MROS can cover one hectare in 2 hours and 55 minutes without bed forming;
– The 12row MROS can cover one hectare in 2 hours and 8 minutes including be forming.
Also, without the MROS, the sowing of onion seeds by up to 42 workers in one hectare can take more than 8 hours. Further, MROS can be used to sow the seeds of pechay (75.47- percent efficiency rate);mustard (80.64-percent efficiency rate);upland kangkong (80.94 percent efficiency rate); raddish (75.47-percent efficiency rate).

The PHilMech developed MROS is a product of scientific research by the engineers. I, therefore, vouch and support the PHilMech’s encouragement for onion farmers to mechanize their farms. I see this as the key to higher production of onion, arrest artificial shortage of the commodity in outlets, and the end of importation – DA’s favorite band-aid solution man-made shortage of agri-products in the market. Hope MROS reaches the farmers in Region 8 to up family revenue.
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