In 2019 locusts invaded Rajasthan after a gap of 26 years. Swarms of locusts entered several districts of Rajasthan via Pakistan’s Sindh province. Until February this year, swarms had damaged crop across 670,000 hectares in 12 districts with an estimated loss of about Rs 1,000, as per state agriculture commission. This year the first locust attack was on May 11 in Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of Rajasthan. So far 90,000 hectares in 20 districts of Rajasthan have been affected due to the locust attack. Swarms of locusts moved from Sri Ganganagar, Nagaur, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur towards other areas in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The size of these swarms can vary—from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres. A one square kilometre swarm contains about 40 million locusts. They can eat as much food as 35,000 people assuming each individual consumes 2.3 kg of food per day.
While farmers are using traditional methods to flee swarms. The Union Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), headquartered in Jodhpur, has deployed teams carrying equipment such as vehicle mounted ULV Spray, tractor mounted sprayer, fire fighter, fire tender vehicle, drones and high-intensity insecticide to prevent the spread of locusts
According to LWO, grasshoppers emerged from eastern Africa and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan's Sindh province known for producing cotton crop.
People walking past a massive locust attack in the fields in western Rajasthan. Photo by Hindu Singh
Locust attack in a border village in Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. Photo by Harvinder Singh Gill
Locustswarms dot a tree in Karanpur Tehsil, 2 kms from India-Pakistan border in Sri Ganganagar. Photo by Harvinder Singh Gill
Farmer walking in the field covered with locust swarms in Barmer. Photo by Saddam Hussain.
Locusts sit on a farmer in Tamlor village, 3 kilometers from India-Pakistan border in Barmer. Photo by Hindu Singh
Summer sky of Jaipur dotted with swarms. Photo by YK Narula
Pink locusts were spotted by Jaipurites early morning on May 25. Photo by Tabeenah Anjum
Swarm of locusts in Jaipur. Photo by YK Narula
Farmers beat thalis in a field to chase away locusts near India -Pakistan border in Barmer. Photo by Saddam Hussain