10-ROMS: It Can Plant One Hectare Of Onions In Less Than 3 Hours

The 10-Row Onion Mechanical Seeder is attached to a hand tractor. It can plant 3,800 square meters in one hour.

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization(PhilMech) has launched an onion mechanical seeder that can plant one hectare in less than three hours. This is the 10-ROMS or Ten-Row Onion Mechanical Seeder that was unveiled during the 39th anniversary of the agency.

By using this machine, the farmer can expect an additional 2 to 2.5 tons harvest of bulbs from one hectare. Not only that, the cost of production is significantly reduced.

Dr. Renita SM dela Cruz explaining the benefits onion farmers can derive from 10-ROMS during the unveiling of the machine.

That is why compared with the old technique of manually broadcasting the seeds, Dr. Renita SM dela Cruz, one of the PhilMech experts, said that 10-ROMS can give additional income of P60,839 per hectare not only due to the increase in yield but also due to reduced number of seeds needed to plant one hectare.

For instance, when manual broadcasting is used, the farmer will usually need 20 cans (400 grams) per hectare. With the use of 10-ROMS, the farmer will only need 11 cans per hectare. Since one can of Red Creole seeds costs P1,800, the farmer using 10-ROMS will already save P16,200 on seeds alone.

Eugene Gabriel who distributes farm machinery based in Cauayan City, Isabela, takes a close look at the mechanical seeder. He manages Agri Component Manufacturing Corp.

Another expensive and laborious part of the manual broadcast method is thinning when the plants have attained a few inches in height. It is very possible that some of the seedlings are crowded so they have to be thinned. And that needs a lot of labor costing P300 per person a day.

In the case of onions planted the 10-ROMS way, there no need for thinning because the seeds are planted one seed per hill and are in straight rows.

PhilMech Director Dionisio G. Alvindia (back to camera) during the unveiling of 10ROMS.
The 10-ROMS needs only one operator. The seeder is attached to a hand tractor that is operated by just one man. Even a lady farmer can operate the machine.

A mechanical two-row seeder that is manually pulled is also used by some farmers. This is not as efficient as the 10-ROMS. That is why by using 10-ROMS instead of the two-row seeder, the farmer can expect an additional income of P12,391 per hectare, according to PhilMech.

Onion grown by traditional transplanting. An expensive way of growing onions. It requires plenty of labor.
One other old practice in onion production is germinating the seeds in seedbeds and then transplanting the same after a few weeks. That is also very laborious and expensive. In transplanting the seedlings alone, 20 workers would be needed to plant one hectare in one day. That would mean P6,000 in wages in addition to the cost of snacks. One usual problem is that there may not be enough workers to hire at transplanting time.

A complete unit of 10-ROMS will cost about P240,000. That could be recovered within a short period, especially if the machine is also used in providing planting service to other onion growers. The usual charge for use of the of the machine is P2,000 per hour.

Newly harvested Red Creole onion.

The subject specialists of 10-ROMS are Dr. Renita SM dela Cruz, Domingo R. Miranda and Rodelio G. Idago. They belong to the Socio-Economic and Policy Research Division (SEPRD) of PhilMech. Tel. Nos. (044) 456-0213; 0290; 0282; 0287. Fax No. (044) 456-0110.

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