Pakistan needs Chinese assistance for modernisation of carpet sector: WealthPK

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ISLAMABAD: The carpet sector in Pakistan needs to adopt technological methods to reduce the cost of production and develop the industry on modern lines.
The people associated with the sector told WealthPK that Pakistani carpets and rugs were famous globally. Pakistan exported carpets and rugs worth $79.34 million in 2021.
With the evolution of technology, carpet manufacturers in other parts of the world are adopting modern methods to improve productivity and decrease the cost of production. It is time for Pakistan to seek Chinese assistance for modernisation of its carpet sector as China is already benefiting from the latest technology.
The carpet industry in Pakistan has a long history with a good reputation in the world. The history of the carpet industry in the region can be traced back to the 11th century.
The carpet industry grew rapidly in Pakistan from 1970 to 2000 owing to two main factors. One reason was the Islamic revolution in Iran as it caused a decline in the production of carpets in the country, a global competitor in the sector.
The second reason was the huge influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan after the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. The Afghan refugees brought the fabrics, varieties, weaving skills and natural dyes with them that gave a boost to the carpet sector in Pakistan.
The Pakistani carpet manufacturers use Persian techniques to make carpets and rugs. The potential of the sector can be judged by the fact that despite using traditional methods, it has provided employment opportunities to 1.5 million people in the country.
However, during the last decade, the export of carpets from Pakistan declined considerably. The export volume of carpets was $131 million in 2011, which dropped to $71.37 million in 2021, showing a decline of 45 percent.
Experts attribute the decline in export of carpets to use of traditional methods by the weavers. They said that instead of adopting modern technology, Pakistan produced handmade carpets and at the same time faced shortage of skilled labour.
Pakistan got plenty of skilled carpet weavers during the Afghan war. However, the Afghan refugees went back to their homeland and shifted to other countries with the passage of time.
The people associated with the sector said that Pakistan was facing tough competition in the carpet sector from its neighbours, especially India and Iran. India and Iran produce carpets and rugs of good quality at a low cost.
Pakistan can compete with the neighbouring countries in the world market by modernising its carpet industry. Adoption of modern methods used by China to produce carpets and rugs of high quality can help Pakistan to reduce production cost and increase productivity.
The experts told WealthPK that it was high time for the carpet industry of Pakistan to shift from traditional to modern methods to survive in the world market. They said that Pakistan could benefit from the expertise of China in modern technology to compete with its neighbours and other carpet manufacturing countries for the progress of the sector and increase in export of carpets and rugs.