Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) encouraged the government and private sectors to work together to increase Pakistan’s forest cover from 5% to 25% in order to meet the growing demands of the country’s furniture industry. Mian Kashif Ashfaq, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PFC, told a delegation of women entrepreneurs in the furniture industry led by Ms. Nida Ejaz that the paper, furniture, and local industries are experiencing severe supply shocks that are not only impeding their future growth but also negatively impacting their international competitiveness.
As the world economy is anticipated to be more difficult this year as a result of COVID-19, he advised the furniture industry to be resilient by innovating, adopting technology, and diversifying export markets in order to retain long-term demand. “In order to increase our market share, we must overcome obstacles; we must continue to offer creative and market-driven products,” he continued. Mian Kashif Ashfaq stated that in the absence of sufficient wood sources, the local market is saturated with inexpensive furniture constructed of decorative and laminated chipboard sheets. He stated that wooden furniture, such as that manufactured from Shishum wood, is highly expensive, which is why it is only available to select customers. He stated that Pakistan need massive tree planting in plain, hilly, and other uninhabited areas with the assistance of commercial organisations and the government in order to meet the needs of its expanding furniture sector. According to him, around 500,000 people are working in the forestry industry and its connected industries, such as logging, carpentry, and timber products manufacturing, and tourism and the forests contribute only 0.3% of GNP because of their small size. He stated that the Pakistani furniture sector has the potential to be considerable on multiple levels, as it can significantly contribute to the country’s gross domestic product and employ a large number of people with a variety of specialised furniture abilities. Mian Kashif stated, “We must overcome obstacles in order to increase our market share; we must continue to manufacture creative, market-oriented products.”
The country has exceptional artisans and designers who can almost breathe life into a piece of wood, he said, adding that Pakistani artisans should work in this field to earn desperately needed foreign exchange.