Call to make the furniture industry innovative

LAHORE: The furniture industry is to be transformed from a cottage or small-scale industry to an innovative industry through training, upgrading of supplies and imports, establishment of a woodworking institute and testing laboratories to international standards.

Pakistan Furniture Council chief executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said on Sunday that efforts should be made to promote furniture exports through more regular attendance at international fairs. All of this can happen if there is government will and vision among furniture traders. So far, that remains to be seen, he added.

Pakistan’s share in the international wooden furniture market is insignificant, despite the fact that the country has a history of craftsmanship and innovation in the field of wooden furniture. The wood furniture industry accounts for 95% of the country’s total market. The main furniture manufacturing regions of Pakistan are Chiniot, Gujrat, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. In terms of exports, Karachi comes first, followed by Lahore and Peshawar.

He observed that local exporters and manufacturers were facing challenges due to the massive import of furniture. Chinese furniture has also affected the local industry by 70% and the sale of locally made home furniture has dropped significantly. He said the pressure on the domestic industry has increased tremendously as other countries like Thailand and Korea have started exporting heavily to Pakistan. In Pakistan, the wooden furniture industry can be categorized into small-scale and artisanal. These units unfortunately use outdated machinery, inadequate tools and manual labor for the manufacture of wooden furniture. This means high costs and poor performance.

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