LAHORE - Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) has urged the public and private sectors to join hands for raising country’s forest cover from 5 to 25 per cent to meet the growing demand of wood for furniture industry in the country.

Talking to a students’ delegation of Institute of Communication Studies Punjab University led by Dr Waqar Ch, senior faculty member, PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq Saturday said that currently, paper and furniture , and local industries, were experiencing serious supply shocks which were not only impeding their further growth and but also adversely affecting their international competitiveness. Secretary PFC Hamid Mahmood was also present on this occasion.

Kashif urged the furniture industry to remain resilient by innovating, adopting technology as well as 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.

He said 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 that 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 Rs 100,000 and that’s why chipboard furniture remains most sought after”, he said and added that Shishum wood furniture was still very expensive and that’s why people prefer cheaper Russian diyar furniture .

A visit to furniture market reveals that a simple chair made of Shishum wood sells at Rs 3,500 and its price increases with carving up to Rs 10,000, he said.

Mian Kashif said Pakistan needed mass tree plantation at plain, hilly and other empty areas with the support of private organisations and the government to meet the demands of growing furniture industry. He said about 500,000 workers were employed in forestry sector, and its related business like logging, carpentry, and timber products manufacturing, and tourism and the forests contribute only 0.3 per cent to GNP due to low area.

He said the Pakistan 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 .

Mian Kashif invited all faculty members and students of ICS to visit 3-day 9th Interior Pakistan exhibition being held at Expo Center from December 15 and have look on the expertise of our artisans who are producing world class handmade furniture which is in great demand all over the world and write good articles based on their visit to expo to create awareness among the people about the utility of handmade furniture over machine based furniture as well their contribution will also help attract foreign and local investors to boost furniture industry.