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Philippines intent on mechanizing onion production

In order to increase the country’s onion output, the government of the Philippines at this time is working on enhancing locally manufactured machinery. The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has stated it is upgrading its highly successful Multi-Row Onion Mechanical Seeder (MROS) and testing its usage in planting other vegetables.

Attached to a common tractor and fit to be operated by a single person, the MROS was developed by PhilMech to help farmers improve their productivity through direct seeding method. Through its use, a shorter maturity period is attained for onions, while transplanting stress was also eliminated. Also, labor requirement in transplanting onion seedlings is reduced.

Right now, all MROS only have 10 rows and farmers suggested PhilMech to modify it up to 12 rows to maximize the yield and increase planting density.

PhilMech said that based on the result of pilot testing in Pangasinan, Tarlac and Occidental Mindoro, the 12-row MROS has a planting capacity of 0.31 hectare per hour planting capacity and mean field efficiency of 68.17 percent, which is higher than the minimum Philippine Agricultural Engineering Standard (PAES) requirement of 60 percent for mechanical seeder.

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