Maputo — The Indian government has decided to renew its agreement with Mozambique to import Mozambican pigeon peas for a further five years, according to the outgoing Indian ambassador, Rajeev Kumar.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, at the end of a farewell audience granted by President Filipe Nyusi, Kumar said the Indian government had sent a proposal via the Foreign Ministry to import 200,000 tonnes of pigeon peas over the next five years, and the Agriculture Ministry has accepted this.
The export of pigeon peas to India arose as the result of a memorandum of understanding signed during the visit to Mozambique by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2016. Known as dal in India, pigeon peas are an essential part of Indian cuisine.
Kumar said Mozambique may also benefit from a vaccine against the Covid-19 respiratory disease developed in India.
India has approved two vaccines which will begin to be administered as from next week. Kumar said India will make the vaccines available to other countries, and Mozambique will be a priority recipient.
The most likely vaccine to be exported from India is Covaxin, which is being developed by the company Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Mozambican Health Minister Armindo Tiago expects vaccination to begin in late June or early July. He has not said which vaccine Mozambique will use - but it must be safe and certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Kumar described relations between India and Mozambique as good "tending toward excellent", particularly in trade and investment. The major Indian investors in Mozambique include the vehicle manufacturers Tata and Mahindra.
More than 50 Indian companies have invested in Mozambique, notably in mineral resources, including the Moatize coal basin in Tete province, and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Cabo Delgado.
Kumar noted that the combined investment of the three Indian members of the consortium building gas liquefaction plants in the Cabo Delgado district of Palma is larger than the investment by the consortium operator, the French oil and gas company Total.
Total holds 26.5 per cent of the shares in the Consortium while the three Indian companies (ONGC Videsh Rovuma Limited., Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique Limited and BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V.) each hold ten per cent, giving a total of 30 per cent.