Mozambique court rules for ETG commodities in pigeon peas battle

MAPUTO (Reuters) – A Mozambican court has ruled that a shipment of pigeon peas belonging to global commodities broker Export Trading Group (ETG) cannot be exported to India, the latest step in a battle between rival exporters that has caused delays and pushed up prices.

ETG went to court to prevent Mozambican-based Royal Group Limitada from exporting thousands of metric tonnes of the peas, valued at $61 million, that it alleged had been illegally seized from ETG warehouses.

ETG also appealed to Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi for his intervention in December.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday, the Maritime Court of Nampula Province ordered the “suspension of departure and transit, by sea, of cargo in bulk and containers consisting of pigeon pea, soy, sesame, peanuts, rice and corn, seized from the claimant (ETG)”.

The court order, seen by Reuters, said the ruling extended to major shipping companies, including CMA CGM and Maersk.

“We are relieved that the court in Nacala has ordered that the shipment of our seized goods is suspended,” ETG said in a statement on Friday.

Royal Group was not immediately available for comment.

India, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pigeon peas, relies on imports during the final quarter of the year before the new crop harvest in January. Over half of India’s imports of pigeon peas are sourced from Mozambique.

Early in November, at least 150,000 metric tons of pigeon peas bound for India were held up at ports in Mozambique awaiting export permission from customs and pushing up prices of the protein-rich staple food.

ETG has previously said the dispute with Royal Group arose in 2022, when a cargo of soybeans which Royal Group was exporting to India was held up over suspicions that the crop was genetically modified.

Royal Group alleged ETG had tipped off authorities and unsuccessfully sued them in court.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Manuel Mucari; editing by Nellie Peyton and Jane Merriman)