New Delhi: India has developed a new variety of rapeseed as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to cut imports of vegetable oils, the country’s third-biggest import item after crude oil and gold.

The new rapeseed variety will have higher oil content and lower erucic acid, a harmful compound, government-backed Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Indian farmers plant rapeseed in October-November, with harvests from March.

A lag in sowing and the warmest winter in at least five years could hit rapeseed output and reduce its oil yield, farmers and traders said, pushing up vegetable oil imports.

India imported a record 14.61 million tonnes of vegetable oils in the year to October 2015 and overseas purchases are set to scale new peaks this year to make up for lower oilseed crops and rising demand for the cooking fat. Reuters