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TOP Contents - Tailored for YOU MoFA introduces farmers to improved rice cultivation methods Thursday, November 7, 2013 8:08 AM
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has appealed to rice farmers to become more receptive of improved farming technologies to boost crop yield and returns.Mr. Samuel Ankomah, Ahafo-Ano District Director of the MoFA, said they should heed technical advice and take advantage of the expertise of the agricultural extension officers to increase the production of rice, a staple diet in many Ghanaian homes.He was speaking at a forum on the ―Sustainable Rain-fed Lowland Rice Production Project‖ held at Tepa in the Ashanti Region.The project is a collaborative effort by MoFA and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to raise production levels and profitability for better livelihoods.Mr. Ankomah said they needed to shift from traditional cultivation practices to embrace new but simple and inexpensive techniques, as the nation made aggressive push towards food sufficiency and food security.Ghana has enormous potential to produce enough to feed the population if farmers accepted to go by the new way of doing things – in terms of demarcation of rice field, pudding, bonding with water inlet and outlets, as well as leveling.Mr. Ankomah said under the MoFA/JICA project, small-holder farmers in the area are being assisted to use simple farm tools, which were affordable.They had also been introduced to a system of land development that had proven to be effective for weeds control, helped to significantly improve water holding capacity, efficient nutrient intake and fertilizer efficiency to support crop growth for optimum yield.Added to these, are simple post-harvest tools including the use of the sickle, bambam box and tarpaulin to make sure that the paddy rice was of high quality.Mr. Ankomah said within the last four years, per hectare yield of rice farms in the area had gone up from 2.2 tons to 5.5 tons due of the project.Nana Adusei Atwenewaa Ampem, Omanhene of Tepa, thanked the Japanese Government for its technical support to the agricultural sector. Source: GNA
FAO expects more balanced food markets, less price volatility Commodity markets are becoming more balanced and less price volatile than in recent years thanks to improved supplies and a recovery in global inventories of cereals, according to FAO's Food Outlook report published today. "The prices for most basic food commodities have declined over the past few months. This relates to production increases and the expectation that in the current season, we will have more abundant supplies, more
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export availabilities and higher stocks," said David Hallam, Director of FAO's Trade and Markets Division. The sharp increase in 2013 cereal production mostly stems from a recovery of maize crops in the United States and record wheat harvests in CIS countries--those that Commonwealth of Independent States. World rice production in 2013 is expected to grow only modestly. Global cereal stocks, ending in 2014, are also anticipated to increase, by 13 percent, to 564 million tonnes, with coarse grains alone up by 30 percent, mostly in the United States. Wheat and rice stocks are also projected to rise, by 7 percent and 3 percent respectively. The expansion in world cereal stocks would result in the global cereal stocks-to-use ratio reaching 23 percent, well above the historical low of 18.4 percent in 2007/08. In 2013, the world food import bill is set to decline by 3 percent to $1.15 trillion, with import costs of cereals, sugar, vegetable oils and tropical beverages falling, but dairy, meat and fish remaining firm, according to FAO's latest Food Outlook. Food prices rise slightly The FAO Food Price Index, also published in this report, rose slightly in October, averaging 205.8 points. This was 2.7 points, or 1.3 percent above September, but still 11 points, or 5.3 percent below its October 2012 value. The slight increase was largely driven by a surge in sugar prices, although prices of the other commodity groups were also up.World sugar production is forecast to increase only slightly in 2013/14. The rise is likely to be limited in Brazil, the world's largest sugar producer and exporter, where unfavourable weather conditions have hampered harvesting operations. World sugar consumption is set to grow by about 2 percent in 2013/14.The Index, which is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of five major food commodity groups (including 73 price quotations), has undergone some changes in the way it is calculated, although the new approach did not significantly alter the values in the series, FAO reported. The revised Index has also been extended back to 1961. #30
Global food prices rise in October after five months of falls BY CATHERINE HORNBY ROME Thu Nov 7, 2013 6:15am EST
BY CATHERINE HORNBY ROME Thu Nov 7, 2013 6:15am EST
(Reuters) - Global food prices rose slightly in October after declining for the past five months, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, forecasting more stability in markets as it raised its estimate for 2013/14 cereals output.The rise in prices last month was fuelled by sugar costs, which increased due to concerns about harvest delays in Brazil. Prices of wheat and edible oils also strengthened, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said."Prices are settling around these levels," FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian told Reuters by telephone.
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"I do not see such sharp declines in prices in coming months as we have seen in the first half of the year," he said.FAO's index measuring monthly price changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 205.8 points in October, up 1.3 percent from September and hitting its highest level since July.Food prices surged during the summer of 2012 due to a major drought in the United States but prospects for a rebound in cereal production to record levels have weighed on prices this year.In its biannual Food Outlook report published on Thursday, FAO said food markets were becoming more balanced and less price volatile than in recent years thanks to bigger supplies and a recovery in inventories.FAO raised its forecast for world cereal output in 2013/14 to 2.498 billion metric tons (2.7536 billion tons), about 10 million metric tons higher than its estimate in October.It increased its estimate for world wheat output in 2013/14 to 708.5 million metric tons from a previous forecast of 704.6 million metric tons. World cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2014 are now seen at 564 million metric tons, higher than a previous estimate of 559 million metric tons and up 13 percent from their opening levels.FAO said it had revised its data for the food price index and had extended records back to 1961.The revised index still shows a record peak was hit in February 2011, when high food prices helped drive the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.In the summer of 2012 the index began surging to levels close to another peak seen in 2008, when several poor countries experienced riots, some of them deadly. (Editing by Gareth Jones) Wednesday, 06 November 2013 17:40
More rice for Africa, target of new research hub Burundi has turned its rice research capacity up a notch to improve food security in Eastern and Southern Africa by establishing a regional rice research and development hub with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). IRRI's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, opened on 30 October 2013.
In his speech at the official opening of the new Robert S. Zeigler building that will house IRRIâ€™s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, First Vice-President of Burundi His Excellency Bernard Busokoza stated that the government strongly supports further collaboration between IRRI and Burundi to improve the regionâ€™s rice production and support the fight against food insecurity.First VicePresident Busokoza said that the Government of Burundi and IRRI
share the same vision: to provide sustainable methods of growing rice to improve the well-being of rice producers and consumers, to reduce poverty and preserve the environment.The new regional office will focus on developing and testing new rice varieties matched to the different rice production ecologies across Eastern and Southern Africa. To support IRRI’s activities, First Vice-President Busokoza also announced that the government has granted IRRI use of a 10 hectare plot of land at Gihanga for its rice research.Key government, IRRI, and AfricaRice officials attended the inauguration of the regional office that was held on 30 October 2013, as part of the IRRI Board of Trustees meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi.The new building was named after IRRI’s current director general, Dr. Robert S. Zeigler. ―This is truly an honor for me,‖ said Dr. Zeigler, during the unveiling of the building plaque.Zeigler was recognized for his many years of work in development agriculture as a scientist and research leader in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the United States. He also served as a technical adviser in the maize program at Burundi’s Institute of Agronomic Sciences in the 1980s and was instrumental in the arranging the first IRRI-Burundi Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2008.―I’m very optimistic that this new regional hub will substantially contribute to the development of the rice sector in Eastern and Southern Africa, and build our collaboration with our partners in Burundi and the greater region,‖ Zeigler added.Interim director general of AfricaRice Dr. Adama Traoré also attended and highlighted the importance of Asia-Africa knowledge exchange that has been made possible by the CGIAR Research Program on Rice, known as the Global Rice Science Partnership.
Opening the new rice research and development hub: Dr. Robert Zeigler, Dr. Emerlinda Roman, and First Vice-President Busokoza (lt to rt).
Also attending were Burundi’s Ministers of Agriculture and Livestock; Higher Education and Scientific Research; Finances and Development Planning; and External Relations and International Cooperation.IRRI’s deputy director general for research Dr. Achim Doberman highlighted areas where IRRI can contribute to rice research and development with the substantial support of stakeholders.―With advances in technology, we can expedite the breeding process to ensure new rice varieties are available every year for the region,‖ said Dobermann. ―It is our vision for Burundi to become a leading regional hub for excellent, high yielding, rice varieties that also have good grain quality.‖IRRI and the Burundian government started collaborating in 2006 through the initiatives of Dr. Joseph Bigirimana, who is now the IRRI Regional Coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa. The first joint project with CARE Burundi was established in 2010, with support from the Howard Buffett Foundation, totrain ex-combatant
women in rice production.In 2011, two IRRI-bred rice varieties, Vuninzara (IR77713) and Gwizumwimbu (IR79511), which were developed especially for Burundi, were released. Farmers rank these varieties higher in grain quality of unmilled, milled, and cooked rice than previously popular varieties. IRRI is also sharing rice breeding lines with Burundi that are being tested at a number of IRRI field sites around the country.
Riverina rice sowing hits the home stretch ABC Rural By Laurissa Smith Posted Thu 7 Nov 2013, 11:12am AEDT PHOTO: Young rice shoots start poking through the water at this farm in Deniliquin in the NSW Murray. (Laurissa Smith)
Rice sowing in the country's largest production area is nearly complete. Rice processor SunRice expects the crop in southern NSW will be smaller than the 1.1 million tonnes harvested earlier in the year.Deniliquin grower Adrian Dunmore says conditions for sowing haven't been ideal."It's been from one direction one day, then from the other the following, and it just hasn't given us much reprieve."But the rice crop seems to have anchored okay and is starting poke out of the water a bit now."The later sown stuff was probably in the midst of the wind and we're still yet to see how badly that was affected."Low water allocations and the high cost of temporary water forced some growers to plant less rice than usual.
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Rice traders adopt ‘wait-&-watch’ policy OUR CORRESPONDENT KARNAL, NOV. 7:
The bullish trend in the rice market continued with prices of a few aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties moving up by Rs 250-600 a quintal on Thursday.Amit Chandna, proprietor, Hanuman Rice Trading Company, told Business Line that overseas demand and lower availability of stocks mainly pushed up rice prices. The market has already seen some unexpected levels this week and major changes are unlikely over the next couple of days, he said.There is no bulk buying in the market at present as traders have adopted a wait-and-watch policy following uncertainty in the market, said experts.Apart from low stocks and rice mills holding on to their stocks, high demand for aromatic paddy this season is a reason behind the price rise, said Amit. In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) moved further up by Rs 400 to Rs 8,700-8,800, while Pusa-1121 (sela) improved by Rs 300 to Rs 7,800. Pure Basmati (Raw) went up by Rs 500 and quoted at Rs 12,500. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at Rs 7,000 , Rs 300 up. In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (Steam) went up by Rs 300 and sold at Rs 5,100-5,300 while Sharbati (Sela) quoted at Rs 4,800 , Rs 600 up.
Permal (raw) sold at Rs 2,350-2,400 while Permal (sela) was at Rs 2,400 . PR-11 (sela) sold at Rs 3,100, while PR-11 (Raw) quoted at Rs 3,000-3,100 . PR14 (steam) improved by Rs 250 to Rs 3,400 . PADDY ARRIVALS About 40,000 bags of PR paddy arrived and quoted at Rs 1,400-1,500 , around 15,000 bags of Pusa-1121 arrived and sold at Rs 3,750-3,930 , 30,000 bags of Sugandha went for Rs 2,550-2,700, while 10,000 bags of Sharbati arrived and sold at Rs 2,400. Around 10,000 bags of Duplicate Basmati arrived and fetched Rs 3,5503,750 , while 1,000 bags of Pure Basmati sold at Rs 5,400-5,550 . (This article was published on November 7, 2013) Keywords: rice market, Pusa-1121, basmati rice
Punjab unlikely to achieve paddy purchase target By PTI | 7 Nov, 2013, 09.14PM IST
Punjab had set a target to achieve 130 LT of paddy in the kharif marketing season.CHANDIGARH: Punjab is unlikely to achieve paddy procurement target of 130 lakh tonnes (LT) for the central pool during the current kharif marketing season in the wake of dip in yield at certain places because of inclement weather conditions. However, crop purchase target of 36 LT in Haryana is expected to be achieved, officials said here today. "Against the target of 130 LT, paddy procurement is likely to be around 125 LT in Punjab as per trends coming from the fields," a senior FCI official said. Officials attributed the expected dip in crop arrivals to drop in yield particularly in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kapurthala districts of Punjab. "Due to untimely rains, paddy yield in these districts dropped by almost 10 per cent which led to less arrivals," the official said. Punjab had set a target to achieve 130 LT of paddy in the kharif marketing season. On the request of Punjab government, the Centre had even relaxed the norms for paddy procurement as farmers had complained of non-purchase of crop due to high mositure content and discoloration. Paddy purchase in Punjab has reached 112.09 LT so far, of which almost 95 per cent is bought by government agencies and rest by private traders. In Haryana, paddy purchase target is expected to be achieved in the absence of any adverse impact on crop. "Paddy procurement target in Haryana will be attained," an official of FCI
(Haryana) said here today. Haryana had set a target of 36 lakh tonne of paddy procurement.So far, in Haryana, paddy procurement for central pool has reached 35.78 lakh tonne including 34.52 by government agencies and 1.26 lakh tonne by millers.
Commerce Minister admits Bt260 billion loss from rice subsidy Thursday, 07 November 2013 - See more at: http://www.pattayamail.com/business/commerce-minister-admitsbt260-billion-loss-from-rice-subsidy-31969#sthash.paWAiCx6.dpufANGKOK, Nov 7 â€“ Thailand has lost Bt260 billion from the governmentâ€™s rice pledging scheme in the last two years, according to Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan.He said the government has speeded up releasing rice from state stockpiles so as to pay debts to the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) which has granted loans for the scheme.
The BAAC should be paid Bt200 billion by the end of the year despite declining rice prices in the global market, he said, adding that rice would be gradually exported to China from next month until December next year.Thailand has sold one million tonnes of rice to China while a counter trade of Thai rice for the Chinese high-speed train project will be clear in Q3 next year, he said.Luck Wajananawat, BAAC President, said the bank would propose to the next meeting of the National Rice Policy on guiding principles in finding revolving fund for the 2013/2014 harvestLoans totalling Bt140 billion may be sought to pay farmers for the 2013/2014 harvest while the Cabinet will be asked to extend the maximum revolving fund to Bt500 billion, said Mr Luck.He said the BAAC has paid Bt600-800 billion for the rice subsidy but was paid at only Bt140 billion, making it impossible for the bank to secure new financial injection for the scheme.
Indian Rice Harvest to Fall This Year, Official Says Cyclone Phailin, Rains Have Destroyed Crop in Several Rice-Producing Regions By BIMAN MUKHERJI Nov. 7, 2013 9:02 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI—India's rice harvest will likely decline this year as a surprise spate of bad weather has damaged what was supposed to be a bumper crop, a senior government official said Thursday.India's lower-than-expected harvest could help arrest the decline of rice prices, traders said, as a decline in supply from India will offset some of the global glut in rice which has been hurting prices this year.India's rice output could slip to around 100 million metric tons this crop year, which runs through June, from 104.4 million tons a year earlier after Cyclone Phailin damaged crops in eastern India last month, Trilochan Mohapatra, director in the state-run Central Rice Research Institute told The Wall Street Journal Thursday. Rice producers had anticipated a bountiful rice harvest this year after monsoon rains arrived earlier than usual. But the cyclone—which buffeted the eastern coast in mid-October—destroyed up to half of the crop in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, two of the top rice-producing regions in the country.The storm—one of the strongest-ever to strike India—as well the heavy rains soon after, destroyed more than one million tons of rice in Orissa alone, said Mr. Mohapatra. "The cyclone flattened the rice crop in many areas," he said. "Heavy rains that have followed have submerged the crops, completely destroying the cultivation."Some of the rice grown in northern India has also been damaged this year, traders said, by unseasonably late monsoon rains in October. The annual rains in that region end in September in most years.While prices of common grades of rice have so far been shielded by hope any shortage will be met by tapping into India's huge rice stockpiles, the impact of damage on this year's crops can already be seen in some premium grades of basmati rice. The government doesn't maintain any basmati reserves.Domestic prices of basmati varieties procured from farmers have shot up by more than 50% since a year ago, traders said."There has been some panic in the market," said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director of Kohinoor Foods Ltd., a leading exporter of basmati rice. "Now, the big question is whether international buyers will accept the (higher) price."The price for exported basmati may jump to $1,500-$1,800 a ton, from $1,000-$1,100 per ton a year ago, said Mr. Arora. Elsewhere in Asia, several countries are expecting a record rice crop this year thanks to favorable weather and government subsidies. The glut has been driving down prices for big rice importers in Africa and China.Global stockpiles of rice are expected to rise 1% this year, the ninth consecutive annual increase, according to estimates last month by the London-based International Grains Council.Analysts said the global glut could get worse as Thailand, one of the world's biggest exporters, sells some of its own massive rice stockpile from the
government's program of buying rice from farmers at above-market prices."The only potential danger to Indian rice exports would come if the Thai government decides to undercut Indian prices to push out more stocks because they have no place to keep it," said Tejinder Narang, adviser to trading company Emmsons International Ltd.532038.BY -4.72% The price of rice is an important indicator for economists world-wide because it is the main staple for more than half the world's population and changes in its prices affect the prices of other grains such as wheat and corn.A surge in rice prices in 2008 triggered price increases in other grains, leading to a global food crisis which sparked riots in some countries. Write to Biman Mukherji at email@example.com
Sorry, no rice money today Liquidity crunch delays payments to farmers Published: 7 Nov 2013 :Newspaper section: Business
Rice farmers who pledged 1.2 million tonnes of rice under the government's scheme for the main crop starting from October face late payments as the government lacks funding, says the chief of a state-owned bank.Dwindling government liquidity for the controversial scheme is thanks to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) running out of borrowing authority for the pledging, with its planned 140billion-baht loan using a Finance Ministry's guarantee to fund the current harvest's 270-billion-baht budget to be put in the Public Debt Management Office's borrowing plan next January. A delay in the Commerce Ministry's rice stockpile sales have also been blamed for the funding liquidity crunch."Once the cabinet has a clear resolution, we will proceed with payment immediately, so don't worry. We must apologise for any delays. The Commerce Ministry's lengthy rice sales have resulted in the liquidity shortage," said BAAC president Luck Wajananawat.The government said it plans to buy 16.5 million tonnes in the current harvest year. The remaining 130 billion baht in the 270-billion budget is to come from state rice stockpile sales.The Finance Ministry also plans to propose the cab.
Rice mountain set to grow even higher By Emiko Terazono in London: November 7, 2013 2:42 pm
The world’s rice mountain is set to rise to a record for the 10th consecutive year as government support schemes for rice farmers have led to ballooning state reserves in Thailand and China, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.Rice is the primary staple for more than half the world’s population, and state subsidies are widespread among growers around the world. Policies encouraging farmers to produce more rice through government buying schemes and direct subsidies have led to a large build-up in inventories.High quality global journalism requires investment. The global rice hoard is forecast to rise 3 per cent to 183m tonnes in 2014, with China, Thailand and Vietnam expected to increase stockpiles, according to the FAO’s twice-yearly review of global agricultural markets.The rise in global rice inventories came as food prices had stabilised after plentiful harvests of cereals and other staples, reducing the world’s food import bill 3 per cent to $1.15bn in 2013, said the FAO―The market is very much distorted at the moment because of the policies,‖ said Concepcion Calpe, rice specialist at the FAO.The Rome-based agency said that despite a cut in output forecasts because of bad weather for China and India – the two largest producers – global production would be at a record 494m tonnes. Output was ―expected to exceed utilisation in 2013-14, resulting in a further accumulation of stocks‖, it said.The high stock and output levels are expected to weigh on the price in the medium term. Vietnamese benchmark rice prices have recently fluctuated around $400 a tonne, down 10 per cent from about a year ago.Thailand’s stockpile is expected to continue to balloon, supported by the government’s rice buying programme, which has just been renewed for another year. Inventories are forecast to rise 14 per cent in 2014 to 20.4m tonnes.Bangkok’s inventories are expected to remain high despite an agreement with China’s state trading company COFCO to buy 1m tonnes of Thai rice. There are also talks between the Chinese and Thai government’s over further rice imports in exchange for Chinese investment in a high-speed rail system.[China’s imports] are likely to remain high, especially if the gap between domestic and international prices widens.China is this year set to become the largest rice importer for the first time, overtaking Nigeria. According to the FAO, China will import 3m tonnes, up from an average of 1.8m during 2010-12. This compares with 2.5m in Nigeria, whose purchases have remained almost flat in the past few years.China’s rising rice imports are supported by distorted domestic prices as a result of Beijing’s support. As an incentive to agricultural production China has given farmers subsidies and put in place a price floor to reduce volatility in the domestic market. However, this has meant domestic prices have ―decoupled‖ from the international market.The country’s stockpile is forecast to rise 6 per cent to 100m tonnes next year, but its imports ―are likely to remain high, especially if the gap between domestic and international prices widens‖, said the FAO.India, whose rice inventories jumped during the three years to 2011 when it banned exports of non-basmati rice to curb inflation, is expected to see its stocks fall slightly in 2014 to 22m tonnes from 23.9m tonnes this year.
DOJ orders probe on overpriced rice imports By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 8, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered an investigation into reported anomalies in the rice importations by the National Food Authority (NFA).In a two-page ―very urgent‖ memorandum, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to create a special team to ―investigate and examine the rice importation transactions undertaken by the NFA.‖She also wanted the NBI to ―evaluate the prospect of admitting potential witnesses and/or whistle-blowers in the department’s witness protection program.‖The DOJ chief gave NBI officer-in-charge Medardo de Lemos 15 days to submit an initial report on the issue.
De Lima issued the order upon request of activist lawyer Argee Guevarra, who earlier exposed alleged irregularities in the importation by the NFA of 205,700 metric tons of rice from Vietnam last April.In his letter to the DOJ last September, Guevarra sought an investigation into ―questionable importation of 187,000 metric tons (plus an additional 18,700) of rice under a government-to-government transaction‖ which was allegedly ―overpriced by as much as P450 million for a single transaction.‖Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1.The lawyer said the controversy should be ―subjected to exhaustive investigation by the concerned agencies of government with the purpose of dismantling the infrastructure for rice price manipulation and prosecuting officials involved.‖―Rice is an essential gut economic issue of the people which must be spared from predatory price machinations by rice cartels and their padrinos in government,‖ he stressed.
Congress had earlier initiated a probe into the controversy.Guevarra had questioned NFA’s government-to-government import transaction, citing President Aquino’s earlier pronouncement that the country was already rice self-sufficient.He also accused the agency under the Department of Agriculture of violating the World Trade Organization-General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (WTO-GATT), saying the NFA can no longer regulate rice imports after the June 2012 expiration of quantitative restrictions.With the NBI now looking into the alleged rice importation irregularities, Guevarra repeated his call for members of the NFA Council to resist ―the efforts of Alcala and Calayag to pursue a rice importation policy that clearly does not benefit our people.‖ He was referring to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and NFA administrator Orlan Calayag.―G2G (government to government) importation benefits no one – except maybe those who stand to profit from it,‖ he said.Guevarra said NFA Council members ―should not allow themselves to become unwitting accomplices of Alcala and Calayag‖ as congressional inquiries ―have raised more questions about the rationale behind government-led rice importation.‖