The Odisha government on Monday announced that it will provide free crop insurance to all farmers in the state for the next three years.

Cooperation Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak made the announcement after a review of his department by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"The Cooperation Department would bear the premium of the insurance from the 2023 Kharif season to the 2025-26 Rabi season. Odisha is the first state in the country to provide free crop insurance to farmers," he said.

He said the department has been providing short terms agriculture loans to the farmers at low interest rates.

As promised during the elections, the state government has increased the interest-free loan cap from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Under the scheme, more than 7 lakh small and marginal farmers have been provided loans, amounting to Rs 16,683.57 crore during the 2022-23 financial year, Nayak said.

Besides, 1,451 new Primary Agricultural Co-operative Societies (PACS) have been formed to further extend short-term loans to the farmers, he said