Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Furniture Clusters in Pakistan-2


There are about 300 units (including shops) in Gujarat associated with this sector. The sector breakdown shows that majority of the sector is based on 225 to 250 micro units, 40 to 50 small units and 5 medium sized units. There are approximately 7,000 to 8,000 people directly employed in this industry. Gujarat is well known for its top quality furniture all over Pakistan. A few units are exporting furniture to different countries including, UK, USA, Saudi Arabia, Middle East etc. The total export of Furniture from Gujarat was about US$ 4.5 million. (Directorate of Industries). However, due to limited production capacity these firms are not able to fulfill the large export orders and hence can not compete vigorously in international markets. China and India are the major competitors. Their prices are less and quality is better.


Furniture items produced in Sindh comprise of chairs, tables, musical instruments and other items like doors and windows. During the last decade, the units have started diversifying their products into office and kid’s furniture, which is designed more trendy designs. At present there are two main clusters of small furniture manufacturers in Karachi, i.e. Manzoor Colony and Akhtar Colony. There are some 1,200 to 1,300 units in these clusters that have employed almost 6,000 to 7,500 people.
The machinery used includes four basic tools/ machines for furniture making. The average wood requirement of each of these units is around 150 to 200 cubic feet per month. Wood is purchased by unit owners and seasoned naturally. This market mostly caters to the needs of the domestic market and because of the poor finishing/polishing quality the furniture manufactured here is not exported.
Two smaller clusters in Patelpara and Liaquatabad are also engaged in the manufacturing of low quality (MDF and Keekar wood) furniture. Almost three hundreds small/micro units are operating in these areas. Ayshamanzil, Arambagh, Nursery, Liaquatabad and Manzoor Colony are some of the major furniture retail markets in Karachi selling hardwood, steel, MDF furniture. The prices of raw material fluctuate tremendously and quality raw material is scarce. Seasoned quality rosewood trades at around Rs 650 to Rs 850 per cubic ft. American Oakwood and Burma teakwood can be purchased at a price of Rs 2,400 and Rs 3,200 respectively in this market.
Lacquer work is another powerful traditional craft of Sindh. These items have grown popular over the time period. However, furniture items are simple in design. Articles such as table lamps, chairs and sofa sets produced by Lacquer industries of Hala in Hyderabad district and Kashmir in the Jacobabad district are very popular.
Moreover, these areas are also in close proximity from retail markets. Majority of the wooden furniture manufacturing units are classified as small and medium sized having small and specified production. Most of the manufacturers do not have the complete manufacturing facilities to manufacture the complete range of products. The orders are sub contracted to independent workshops for manufacturing. This reduces the capital cost of the manufacturer but increases the quality control cost.