Cotton Association of India (CAI), in its first crop estimates, has reduced the cotton crop size for 2018-19 at 348 lakh bales (of 170 kg each) from 365 lakh bales in 2017-18. The reduction in crop estimate has been mainly attributed to the adverse impact of a drought-like situation in key growing regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The apex cotton trade body has brought down the crop size at 348 lakh bales for 2018-19 amid fears of an impact of yield at the conclusion of the Cotton meet in Aurangabad. According to Atul Ganatra, president, CAI, five cotton growing states in the country are facing problems at present. As per the CAI estimates, cotton crop in the largest grower Gujarat is set to decline by about 15 lakh bales from 105 lakh bales last year to about 90 lakh bales projected for 2018-19. The state faced overall rainfall deficit of about 23% till October 5. Also, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are projected to have lower crop too. \u201cThe maximum problem this year is in Gujarat. The state which gives the highest cotton production in India is facing overall 30% rain deficit. The rain deficit is more than 50% in 9 cotton growing districts of the state and 3 districts have already announced drought where the rain deficit is around 75%. Yield in Gujarat is also likely to reduce drastically,\u201d he said. Ganatra noted that despite almost similar cotton sowing as that of last year, cotton crop this year may be lower due to deficient rains in cotton growing states. As per the central government data, cotton sowing was reported at 120.64 lakh hectare for 2018-19 as against 121.72 lakh hectare in 2017-18. Marathwada \u2014 the largest cotton growing area in Maharashtra is also facing a similar situation as Gujarat and yield in Marathwada is likely to reduce drastically because of rain deficit. \u201cDue to this we have reduced Maharashtra crop by 2 lakh bales i.e. 81 lakh bales from last year\u2019s 83 lakh bales. Actually, Maharashtra crop size is 90-95 lakh bales and Gujarat crop size is 75 lakh bales but from Maharashtra 10-15 lakh bales raw cotton goes to Gujarat and therefore pressing figures of Gujarat are at 90 lakh bales and Maharashtra 81 lakh bales.