NEW DELHI India has developed three lentil varieties of a particular strain that was banned five decades ago amid concerns that it led to nerve damage and paralysis, a move aimed at stepping up local supplies to curb domestic prices and cut imports.
The government-backed Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed the lentil, popularly called pulses, variety after India agreed to lift a five-decade-old ban on the grade.
The new varieties are safe for human consumption, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in a statement.
Annual output of khesari, the lentil variety, is estimated at 350,000 tonnes.
Every year Indians consume about 22 million tonnes of lentils used to make a thick stew called dal, commonly taken with rice or flat bread across South Asia.
About a fifth of the volume is imported from countries such as Canada, Austria and Myanmar, which grow the legumes mainly to sell to India.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj, editing by David Evans)
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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2016 20:39:42 IST