by AMP Susbilla

To address scarcity and high cost of farm labor, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) chose the municipalities of Miag-ao and Oton, Iloilo for the field test of their newly invented Ten-Row Onion Mechanical Seeder (10-ROMS) technology.

According to Dr. Ma. Cecilia R. Antolin, PhilMech senior research specialist, the utilization of 10-ROMS would decrease production cost and time in establishing our crop.

“Naturally we employ 20 to 30 farmer-laborers to transplant onion seedlings in one hectare for one day and that’s cost almost Php. 7,500.00 but by using this 10-ROMS we would be employing two (2) farm-labors and planting is only done in just four hours,” Antolin said.

This mechanical seeder also ensures high germination rate of seeds and uniform distance of planting between rows and hills which are vital factors of high yield and identical sizes of bulbs.

Dr. Rodlfo P. Estigoy, chief of the Applied Communication Division of PhilMech stressed that this 10-ROMS is an implement which could be attach to a hand tractor while the 12-ROMS could be attach to four-wheeled tractor.

“We encourage onion farmers from the province of Iloilo to pilot test this 10-ROMS which we have brought here in Western Visayas for you to witness the performance and advantages of using this machine. PhilMech had developed this technology for the past three years and have been tested in other onion producing provinces of the country,” explained Dr. Estigoy.

The technical symposium which was attended by 100 onion farmers from the province of Antique and Iloilo was just a first step in promoting the adoption of this 10-ROMS in the region.

Region six has a total production are of 200 hectares planted of onion last year and Secretary Manny Piñol challenged to increase the production area to 2,000 hectares this 2018 cropping season.

PhilMech is advocating of reducing postharvest losses in support to food security and sufficiency of our government and continually improving our existing farm machineries to cope with the present situation of the agriculture industry.