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Grassroots Innovation: Pandharinath’s Onion Transplanter

Onion transplantation is one of the most labour intensive and time consuming process in onion cultivation. Roughly 1,70,000 to 1,90,000 seedlings per acre are transplanted using 40 people. But one man used innovation, technology and ingenuity to make this a thing of the past.

Pandharinath Sarjerao More

Mr. Pandharinath Sarjerao More has developed an affordable, semi-automatic transplanter for sowing of onion seedlings. A farmer himself, he noticed the acute scarcity of skilled labourers during the planting season. Even if somehow adequate man-power was arranged, a lot of expense incurred in bringing them from their villages to the farm everyday. Even then, a quality harvest was not guaranteed as onion transplanting requires accurate row and plant spacing, handling without damage – things which the farm labour usually failed to accomplish.

The Innovation

Pandharinath’s Onion Transplanter is a tractor-drawn semi-automatic unit. It can simultaneously perform three functions viz. transplanting onion, applying fertilizer, and making equally spaced irrigation channels!

Onion Transplanter

This machine can be retrofitted to tractors in the 22-25 HP range using a three point linkage system. In conventional method of planting, it is very difficult to maintain straight rows which is a huge barrier to mechanical weeding. This innovative machine facilitates mechanical weeding covering one hectare per day (2.5 acre/day) using a driver and four workers.

At Rs. 1000 per hectare this machine results in a cost saving of 80% in transplantation expenditure. Around 2,25,2000 seedlings per acre can be transplanted using this machine.

The National Innovation Foundation helped Mr. Pandharinath to file a patent in his name in 2008 to keep the legal rights with him. On an average, the Onion Transplanter costs around Rs. 30,000 with a fertilizer drill and Rs. 18,000 without it.

For Business Development enquiries, please get in touch with the Chief Innovation Officer, National Innovation Foundation at

This is a part of an ongoing series called Grassroots Innovation where we showcase innovations by people at the grassroots level.

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