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Cottage industries provide economic opportunities for the poor or the middle-income
section of people through employment and income generation schemes all over the
world, and especially in low income and technologically underdeveloped countries such
as PAKISTAN. Traditionally, cottage industries have been rural-based, but in course of
time and with technological advancements, they spread to urban areas to avail of
transport and marketing facilities and financial support from institutional sources.
Small-scale and cottage industries are numerically significant but account for a relatively
small proportion of the GDP at about 6 percent. Small-scale industry includes facilities,
which employ fewer than 50 workers and cottage industries (industrial units in which the
owner works and is aided by family members but employs no hired labor). In
2006industrial production grew by 5.2%percent.



Products from family based small manufacturing units. Some handicraft products often
have identifying features such as traditional or artistic deriving from the region or country
of production by craftsmen, working generally on a “COTTAGE INDUSTRY” basis. The
customer-oriented definition of handicrafts suggests that it is the creative expression of a
group of people with unique artistic skills who apply their talents to the production of
material goods, which reflect their culture and heritage

Besides contributing to foreign exchange earnings, generating employment, and creating

the opportunities to utilize indigenous natural resources, handicraft plays a vital role in
sustaining the cultural heritage of the country. Handicrafts created by the works of
painters and sculptors, as well as craft workers who have little or no training as artists and
create their work for other people rather than museums or wealthy collectors, embody the
cultural heritage of the country. Most handicrafts cater to the needs of the common
people, although they originate through the patronage of the rich. Over time, they acquire
the dignity of a craft. The members of the craftsmen family or cooperatives are employed
in the handicraft production unit at the cottage level. The workers (skilled or semiskilled)
are paid their wages on a daily basis. The handicraft sector is an important employment
provider, especially in the rural areas. In the 1990s, according to a study covering seven
countries in Asia, 4 million people worked full-time on craft production, while another 4
million worked part-time.

In export trade of the country, handicrafts are considered non-traditional items with a
huge potential for expansion. Being a developing country, Pakistan faces tough
competition in export of finished goods in the manufacturing sector, but many developed
countries, however, give preferential treatment to the import of handicraft from Pakistan

Pakistan is amongst the largest producers and exporters of hand-knotted Oriental

carpets. In the last few decades, Pakistani carpets have reached the farthest corners of the
world.Contrary to widespread belief, the art of weaving developed in the region,
comprising Pakistan, at a time when few civilizations knew about it. Excavations at
Moenjodaro and Harappa ancient cities of Indus Valley civilization have
established that the people knew the use of spindles and spun a wide variety of
weaving materials. In fact, some historians are of the view that it was the Indus Valley
Civilization that of the first time developed the use of woven textiles.

The tradition of textile weaving has survived in the shape of folk culture in various parts
of Pakistan. The textile designs, architecture and characteristic of our folk culture point to
the floral and geometric patterns that are basic to carpet designing. This clearly shows
that the art of carpet-making and designing existed in the region from very old times.
Handmade carpet/rugs often labeled as are a highly decorative and luxurious form of
ornaments. The handmade carpets produced in Pakistan are mainly for the purposes
of export to Western economies, and one of the major earners of foreign exchange
amounting up to 300 million dollars annually (3.4% share in total exports in 2002).
Due to the high-price factor, the local consumption of the handmade carpets is almost

As every knot is tied by hand, carpet manufacturing calls for patience as it may take
many months (sometimes years depending on the size and quality of the carpet/rug)
before a carpet is completed and may return the investment. Costs, time and HR factor
combined makes it less preferred business in modern days. In addition, the risk factor
that a carpet may sell after many years of completion makes it even riskier for itchy
businessmen of today face-paced marketplace.At that time, not many people believed that
Europeans and Americans would buy such an expensive product from a Pakistani online
store. But hard work and honesty does pay off and, now, its amazing to see the huge
success of this unique online store after three years. Definitely a wonderful example to
follow. Many of you probably know that the handmade carpets of Pakistan, and
particularly of Lahore, are one of our major export items and earning us huge
revenues each year.

Pakistani carpets and rugs exhibit a unique entity that is a mixture of many regional
influences, local traditions and modern preferences in design and quality. Carpet weaving
is a flourishing industry in Lahore and Karachi, with 95% of the output going into the
export market. Centuries old tradition are woven into the many varieties of carpets which
takes their name from the areas of their origin Afghan, Bakhtiar, Bokhara, Heart,
Isphahan, Kazak, Khorassan, Sammarkand and Shiraz carpets. Use of high quality
materials and dyes ensure guaranteed durability and quality.

In Pakistan, textile products account for 60 percent of total exports. Most of the export-
quality cotton fabric is produced by small, family-run cottage industries. The weavers
still use ancient looms for the production of plain fabric. Small weaving enterprises (often
family run) can earn 20 to 25 percent more by producing designed (geometric or floral)
patterns rather than plain cloth
The printed fabric is produced on the loom using a mechanical selection device called a
"dobby." Currently, two types of dobbies are used: modern dobbies, which are efficient,
high speed, and expensive; and older, less efficient, cheaper dobbies used throughout the
developing world. It was always Omar's hope to develop a fast and efficient dobby that
would still be relatively inexpensive and easy to make locally.

One day in July 1955, while reading a book on jacquards and dobbies, he had an idea. He
would do what multinational firms had failed to do in more than 100 years — invent a
new kind of dobby that would remove all of the flaws inherent in its mechanism. Without
realizing the difficulties that lay ahead, he quickly borrowed 1 000 rupees from his father
and started building a model dobby. The century-old technology being used by the textile
industry the world over had to give way, he was convinced. He worked out in his mind a
simpler, low-cost yet efficient machine that would replace the original one. This dream,
he was to discover, would take a lifetime of hard work to realize.

Textile production is gradually shifting from the North to the South, but the related
capital machinery, especially the modern powerlooms and dobbies, have been made too
complicated and too costly . Consider the following: about one-third of the looms in the
Third World use a dobby; 50 percent of these dobbies now in use will have to be replaced
over the next 10 years. This brings the potential market upto 2.4 million. The largest
markets include China and India, which each have more than 500 000 looms, followed in
decreasing order by Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, and Turkey. There are
still an estimated 1.7 million looms without dobbies. Cost effectiveness and profitability
can be enhanced by adding dobbies to their spindles.


Pakistan's leading furniture manufacturers participated in an international fair held

in Birmingham, to explore more avenues for promoting their exports to the UK,
which was currently 3.6 million sterling pounds.

The wood furniture industry in Pakistan can be divided into two main types; cottages
and small-scale industry. These units, which are not mechanized, use out-dated tools
and employ manual labor for the production of furniture. There are about 700
registered units in the country. These units are operating on a single shift/300 day’s
per annum basis.
The wooden furniture market is also divided into the home-use and contract
markets. The contract market represents a significant part of it. And when built-in
furniture, which is sold in a package with new homes and condominiums, is included,
the contract market is thought to be huge.

Hotels, restaurants, and public facilities represent the backbone of the contract
market for wooden furniture. The office furniture market consists almost entirely of
metal furniture, and typically office furniture cannot be included in the contract
furniture market.

Wooden furniture is manufactured in Pakistan by a large number of cottage

industries, spread over rural areas, small towns and cities. Pakistan's tradition of
wood-carving has been considerably enriched by the continuing addition of new
furniture designs in vogue overseas. Furniture makers keep themselves well
acquainted with the latest design kits. The fast growing furniture industry is aiming
at developing a system designed to incorporate its tradition with modern functional
demands, coupled with a feeling for the quality of the material and of aesthetic
values. The export of furniture, which was worth US $ 3.46 million in 1996-96,
increased to US $6.05 million in 2000-2001, thus showing an average increase of 12
per cent per annum.

Today, a large quantity of wooden furniture is manufactured in Pakistan at the

cottage level. The environment and conditions being favorable, the wooden furniture
industry holds out a bright scope for further expansion.
Furniture items produced in Sindh comprise of ordinary chairs, tables, and other
items like doors and windows. Since most of the furniture product in this province is
simple and heavy in weight, it is crude from the export point of view, and therefore it
is usually sold locally, especially in areas close to the production centers. Tastefully
designed furniture items, made of superior quality wood, which are light in weight
and in knocked-down condition, are more suitable for export purposes, and for
supply to the distant markets within the country. But, production of such furniture
requires installation of modern machinery and plants.

A number of families in Hala, Kashmore, Khanewal and Dera Ghazi Khan have stuck
to the traditional workmanship, despite sharp, fluctuations in the taste of customers.
The wood carvers' skills are predominantly visible in furniture making, apart from
carving wooden ceilings, wooden panels, doors and windows. The oldest single style
evolved, has been evolved in the NWFP, where craftsmen design massive
pieces,beds, desks, chairs, stands, lamps etc.
Swati furniture has basically broad sets, heavy legs (chairs) and geometric floral
designs, carved in various styles of woodwork. It has been developed in the
Peshawar valley.

Carved shisham tables come in numerous shapes; the tops may be rectangular,
square, circular, and polygonal or palm shaped, which rest on four straight legs or on
a single pillar these are the specialities of the craftsmen of Chiniot (Punjab).
Jacquard work is a popular traditional craft of Sindh. The articles, such as table
lamps, chairs, and sofa sets, produced by the lacquer industries of Hala in Hyderabad
district and Kashmore in the Jacobabad district, are very popular. There was a time,
when villagers used lacquer work furniture only- bed legs, low chairs, in the modern
homes of the rich in cities.
Pakistan's wooden furniture industry has a great export potential, and in quality is
inferior to none. The domestic market is very vast and varied. However, Japan's
import market has great potential, too. No tariffs are levied on the furniture or its
components. The largest obstacle to imports of furniture into Japan is size. Western
furniture is often rejected because it is too large for the Japanese consumers.


One of the most trusted exports from Pakistan is surgical instruments. A wide range of
finest quality medical, surgical, dental, veterinary and hospital instruments and
equipment is being produced in Pakistan at truly competitive prices. Many of the major
German brand names in surgical equipment are getting their manufacturing done in
Pakistan. The industry also produces custom-made instruments and implements of special
design as per orders from international buyers.


Leather tanning and manufacturing of leather garments, footwear and accessories is one
of the major industries in Pakistan with a long tradition. The skilled manpower of the
then cottage industry was combined in the late 70s with the most modern industrial plants
to process / value add leather, leather garments, footwear and accessories of the highest
quality. Today Pakistan is a major player in the export of leather garments and
accessories and has the potential to expand further.


The intrinsic beauty of the jewellery of Pakistan reflects the cultural traditions and
diversity of its people. Centuries of tradition are artistically and lovingly molded in each
hand-crafted piece of gold, silver and other metallic and non-metallic materials. Elegant
and delicately simple designs that cater to the international tastes and preferences are
widely available. Our jewellery is ever popular locally and among foreigners with a taste
for the exotic.


– Pakistan produces a wide range of cutlery, daggers, swords, etc. later items as wall-
hangings, souvenirs and decorations. There are round about 191 cutlery units which have
a total production capacity of 2807 Lac Rs

Pakistan manufactures all types of fans including ceiling, pedestal and table fans mostly
in Gujranwala and Gujrat. Both plastic and traditional robust iron-made fans are being
manufactured for Europe to Africa, Middle-Eastern countries, etc. Costs are low as it is
part of cottage industry where part’s are being produced by venders.

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