Pakistan Furniture Council urges increase in forest cover

Says furniture industry is suffering due to high wood prices

APP December 03, 2017
In the absence of enough supplies of wood, cheaper furniture made of fancy and laminated sheets of chipboard has flooded the local market. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) urged the public and private sectors on Saturday to join hands for raising the country’s forest cover from 5 to 25% to meet the growing demand of wood for furniture making.

Talking to a student delegation from Punjab University’s Institute of Communication Studies, PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said that currently, paper and furniture industries were experiencing supply shocks which were not only impeding growth but also adversely affecting their international competitiveness.

Ashfaq urged the furniture industry to remain resilient by innovating and adopting technology while also diversifying export markets in order to sustain demand in the long run. “We have to overcome challenges to strengthen our market share; we must continue to produce innovative and market-oriented products to deal with the challenging times”, he added.

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He said that in the absence of enough supplies of wood, cheaper furniture made of fancy and laminated sheets of chipboard had flooded the local market. He said wooden furniture, like that of Shishum wood, is quite expensive which is why Shishum’s furniture was made for selected buyers only.

“People find it easy to get a four-piece bedroom-set in a range of Rs100,000 and that’s why chipboard furniture remains sought after,” he said, adding that Shesham wood furniture is still very expensive with people preferring the cheaper Russian diyar furniture over it.

“A visit to the furniture market reveals that a simple chair made of Shesham wood sells at Rs3,500 and its price increases with carving up to Rs10,000,” he said, adding that most buyers could not afford teak furniture.

Ashfaq said Pakistan needed mass tree plantation in plain, hilly and other empty areas with the support of private organisations and the government to meet the demands of the growing furniture industry. He said about 500,000 workers were employed in the forestry sector and its related business like logging, carpentry, and timber products manufacturing. He said that Pakistan’s furniture industry has the potential to be a substantial one at multiple levels as it can contribute significantly to the GDP and employ numerous people with varying skills in specialist furniture.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2017.

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