The Philippine government is expanding its technological support for the country’s vegetable growers after the successful deployment of its Multi-Row Onion Mechanical Seeder (MROS).

According to the Manila Bulletin, thePhilippine Centre for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), an attached agency to the Department of Agriculture (DA), has plans to upgrade the MROS and test its capabilities with other vegetables.

The MROS was originally developed by PHilMech to help growers improve productivity through direct seeding and has been able to achieve shorter maturity periods and reduce labour costs.

PHilMech is now working on trials with an upgraded MROS featuring 12 rows instead of the usual ten rows. This upgrade has the potential to further maximise yields and increase planting density.

William Dar, agriculture secretary of the Philippines, said the country’s onion production has been low, hence the need to mechanise production and promote the use of new technology.

The DA hopes domestic production can meet 90 per cent of the country’s onion requirements with the help of advances like the MROS.

Increased production will also asset the Philippines to explore export opportunities with countries such as Indonesia, which resumed onion imports from the Philippines in April 2019.