Cutlery Industry in tight spot

ISLAMABAD: The cutlery sector in Pakistan is facing a host of problems which are hindering exports. The problems straitjacketing this industry include manual production processes, limited market access, poor quality, excessive wastage, difficulties in accessing formal financing, and lack of awareness and branding, reports.
According to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), cutlery exports fell by 49 percent to $30.379 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year compared to $59.053 million in the same period last year.
The exports remained at $5.340 million in December 2022, up by 13 percent from $4.736 million in Nov 22, but down by 47 percent from $10.049 million in Dec 2021.
According to a report published by the PBS, China is the world’s leading exporter of cutlery, followed by Germany and India.
The report also stated that Pakistan’s cutlery industry lags behind China except in the Damascus steel knives market, where China does not venture due to small-scale production.
According to the report, in order to ensure quality, the manufacturers must use imported steel from China because it is of higher quality and is less expensive.
The report stated that Pakistan’s cutlery industry relies on the outdated machinery and manual production processes, resulting in low productivity and speed. Despite the presence of donated machinery at the Cutlery Institute of Pakistan, it has remained unused for many years.
The report said the cutlery industry is seeking increased protection through higher tariffs on imported cutlery of up to 50 percent. While protectionism undermines competitiveness, it may be necessary for the survival of local industries, it adds. –INP