Mozambique Govt clarifies pigeon peas fiasco

The Mozambican government clarified this week that the Administrative Tribunal banned the country from exporting more pigeon peas to India, maintaining a quota of just 200,000 tonnes for the sale of this product to the Asian country.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce of Mozambique, Silvino Moreno, said in the Assembly of the Republic that the decision of the aforementioned court resulted from the request of a pigeon pea exporter, who contested the sale to India of quantities exceeding the quota of 200,000 tons of product, alleging the risk of losses for the business, taking into account that it had access to the quota via a public tender promoted by the Instituto de Cereais de Moçambique.

The complainant company submitted the case to the court after the Mozambican authorities announced that the limit of 200,000 tons of annual export of pigeon peas to India, until March 2024, would no longer be in force, as revealed by the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

“To our surprise, one of the operators of the tender launched in February (for the export of pigeon peas) took legal action, requesting the maintenance of the quota of 200,000 tonnes per year because, in his opinion, his business would be harmed,” Moreno declared.

“The court not only granted this request but also prohibited the Cereals Institute of Mozambique from continuing to issue certificates of origin for the product,” added the Minister.

The suspension of the measure, which had been in force since 2016, followed a request from the Indian Ministry of Industry and Commerce for the free sale of that product to the country, explained Silvino Moreno.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce of Mozambique revealed that the Indian authorities requested it as a result of low production in his country, caused by the climatic effect of the El Niño phenomenon.

“The Indian Ministry of Industry and Commerce asked Mozambique to eliminate the quota of 200,000 tonnes, accepting the import of any quantity that Mozambique had available,” said Silvino Moreno.

The Mozambican government appealed the court’s decision and, until the first instance ruling, had already exported 265,000 tonnes, of which 229,000 were to India and the remainder to the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malawi, and Tanzania.

The export of pigeon peas to India, which is the main market for this product, is the result of a memorandum of understanding with Mozambique, signed in 2016, providing for exemption from customs duties for Indian importers.

Around 350,000 tonnes of pigeon peas are at risk of deterioration in the country due to the difficulty of exporting them to India. Much of the product is in Nampula and Nacala.

Mozambican government clarified this week that the Administrative Tribunal banned the country from exporting more pigeon peas to India

A media visit to one warehouse on the outskirts of the city of Nampula revealed large quantities of pigeon peas intended for export to India, but, at the moment, the export process is stalled, with businesspeople running the risk of losing part or all of the product.

“The current known total is around 350,000 tonnes, but we have more in other warehouses. If we don’t have any solution, we will have to throw it away. Stockists are doing everything they can to keep the pigeon peas in a condition to be exported, and some have hired women to crush and sift them to guarantee their conservation, but I cannot guarantee that they will be in good condition by January 2024,” explained Hilário Mindoso, from the Nampula Exporters and Importers Association.

The warehouses located in Nacala are also full, so much so that part of the stock is placed in the yard, and rain is the great enemy of its owners.

The difficulty in exporting is due to a decision by the Administrative Tribunal in Maputo, which annulled the decision of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to cancel the public tender that had been launched for the selection of companies for the allocation of quotas to export 200,000 tons of pigeon peas to India, in a context in which, this year, India lifted the quota regime on pigeon pea imports from Mozambique.

The case was filed by Royal Group against the ETG group. After all, the latter was at the origin of the information that led the Indian authorities to refuse the unloading of soybeans and pigeon peas that left Mozambique because they were genetically modified.

Royal Group demanded compensation of around four billion meticais from ETG, but the court decided not to grant the request, arguing that “the records showed that the author, despite having attached a pile of documents to the files, clearly knew that there was no anonymous complaint against the author and that the ban on the unloading of his goods at the Port of Mumbai was due to a legal procedure by the Indian customs authorities.”.

Also read: 5 Health Benefits of Moringa: Nature’s Powerhouse for Wellness

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