5 BENCHMARK SURVEYS FOR: MINING PROPS INDUSTRY SAW
MILLING INDUSTRY WOOD-BASED INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC
OPINION Prepared by: National Management Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.
This Report comprises of 8 chapters as summarized below:
Pakistan is poor in forestry, more so is the Province of Sindh. Recognizing the need to
revitalize forest resources, the Government of Pakistan requested the Asian Development
Bank for financial assistance which was approved and a project came into existence
under the Sindh Forest Department in the name of Sindh Forest Development Project
aiming at a two-fold objective of reforestation and afforestation in five Districts of Sindh
primarily for improving supply of timber for the industry and fuelwood consumption by
the rural population.
In order to be able to design and plan project interventions now and to assess the impact
of these at a future date, five surveys were designed and conducted to gather baseline data
to serve as benchmark position.
The surveys were conducted in November-December 1992, with the limitations that the
law and order situation had just turned the corner, the army operation was still continuing
and the target interviewees were not a literate lot.
The First Draft Final Report was submitted in March 1993 and after review with the
Project Director it was decided to revise it to add some qualitative data as well.
It is necessary to understand that the purpose of this study is to gather baseline data to act
as benchmark at this point time therefore, the data will be essentially primary in nature,
may appear in isolation and the report may not present a sectoral description.
The research design corresponds with the two phases of the study i.e. the first phase and
the supplementing phase.
In the supplementing phase emphasis was more on qualitative information and therefore
there was less use of structured questionnaires and more of techniques like Person-to-
Person Interviewing, Rapid Assessments and Workshops. The scope of work was also
expanded to include the entire wood-based industry, timber and furniture markets in
urban Sindh including Karachi, and carrying out investigations in upper Sindh, which
falls outside the study parameters.
In the first phase, fundamentally a field survey based methodology was employed
consisting of orientation and then secondary and primary data collection. Four separate
surveys were conducted individually referred to as, Wood-based Industries Survey, Saw
Mills Survey, Mining Props/ Middlemen Survey and the General Public Opinion Survey,
Samples of 20, 20, 3 and 300 were drawn from each of the above respectively.
Stratification by five identified districts was aimed at and using within a stratum, a
convenience based random sampling was done. Structured questionnaires were
administered by field staff trained in conducting socio-economic surveys. Data was
subjected to stringent controls, processed on computer-based data processing system and
analyzed for reporting.
Mining props or pits are posts used in the mining operations. These are round and straight
and classified into two types on the basis of size. Those with length around or less than 6
feet are supporting props and the rest are main props which may be as much as 12 feet in
length and 16 inches in girth.
Planks are also used in mines as headboards and are produced by many prop dealers.
Mining props producers are found in lower Sindh as well as in upper Sindh. They supply
to the mines of Sindh as well as Balochistan.
Acacia Nilotica is used for props. Hurry grown is more widely used. The hurry for props
is harvested in 6 years.
The prop producers carry out a series of activities starting from cutting of the trees. The
prices of the props depend on length, girth and quality ranging from Rs8 per piece to
Rs40 per piece.
The production costs and the selling prices are such that most prop producers make a
good profit and are happy in their business.
It is estimated that 60,000 to 75,000 truckloads of props are produced every year and an
equivalent of 20,000 to 25,000 acres of hurries are consumed in their production.
Only hardboard, chipboard and matches are manufactured with indigenous timber.
The hardboard industry consumes or requires about 45,000 tons of waste wood or
firewood as raw material. Of this 95% is Acacia Nilotica.
The chipboard-producing units in Sindh use Mango and require about 17,000 tons per
The match industry uses Poplar from NWFP. The match factories in Sindh consume
about 630,000 Maunds or approximately, 24,000 tons.
There are 7 units manufacturing Plywood in Sindh. All of them use alien species
including Teak, Marsawa and Douglas Fir.
The pencil industry uses 5 mm thick slates of Cedar imported from USA.
The boat industry uses imported Teak and indigenous species in equal proportions.
TIMBER & FURNITURE INDUSTRY IN URBAN SINDH
Karachi and Hyderabad were taken as representing urban Sindh.
There are two main centers of timber trade in Karachi city. One of them located at Old
Haji Camp is the biggest in the country.
These are also the main sawing centers of the city.
In the Karachi timber markets, many species of imported wood are sold including Teak,
Golden Teak, Marsawa, Oak and Chalgoza. Among the local species, Dalbergia Sissoo is
in most demand.
The Karachi market uses 60% imported wood, 20% NWFP, 15% Punjab and 5% Sindh
wood. This does not include wood coming for fuel purposes.
The Karachi timber markets handle about 6 million cft of timber of different species in a
year out of which 2.4 million could be indigenous.
It is estimated that about 40 to 45 trucks of firewood, mainly Acacia, also arrive in
Karachi everyday from Sindh.
No Eucalyptus comes to Karachi although it was found to be used for some purposes in
In the Karachi furniture market, of the wood consumed in furniture, 50% is Sheesham
(Dalbergia) followed by Teak, Pine Oak and others all in more or less the same ratio of
10%. Most of the Sheesham is of Punjab origin.
In Hyderabad, more expensive species are less used than in Karachi. Of the wood used in
furniture, which is 20% of the raw material used in furniture, 43% is Sheesham of which
40% is of Sindh origin. The furniture sector in Hyderabad consumers about 0.16 million
cft of timber in a year.
FURNITURE INDUSTRY IN RURAL SINDH
Included in the definition are manufacturers of items and articles made from wood.
The findings of the survey indicated variety of products being manufactured by
manufacturing units of various sizes, profiles and outlooks. Most of them manufactured
beds and doors using mostly the specie Acacia Nilotica followed by Dalbergia Sissoo.
Furniture was low period and most manufacturers could not quantify their annual or
periodic raw material requirements, future needs and their capacities to produce.
Their major constraint was raw material quality as stated by them followed by energy
Most respondents purchased their raw material in cut-to-size from saw mills indicating
their lack of inventory carrying capacity. The respondents suggested SFD to produce
Acacia Nilotica, Dalbergia Sissoo, Neem and Mango, in that order of importance.
The respondents opened that small financing facilities should be made available to their
industry, power interruptions should be curtailed, law and order situation should be
improved and the government should generally take keener interest in their industry.
Sawmills cut (saw) the wood to various sizes. Most buy their own timber, saw and sell it;
they may process or saw their customers’ wood; and rarely, they may process their
customers’ wood and act their agent in selling it further on.
All of them sated sawing Acacia Nilotica and many of them Dalbergia and Mango. The
respondents either possessed large sawing capacities or very low capacities. Dalbergia
was processed more by the large sized units and conversely. Acacia was sawn more by
small sized units.
Most of the respondents stated that they received their timber from the market. Most of
the respondents achieved capacity utilizations of fifty percent and above. The large sized
units had a better capacity utilization.
Forms of their finally sawn wood are invariably planks, bams and pieces for firewood.
They are permitted a certain rate of wastage which they sell to their own profit mostly as
firewood at the rate of about Rs40/- per maund (32 KG).
All saw mills were using out-dated and old machinery.
The average manpower deployment in sawmills was four persons per unit.
The sawmill owners commended that there was little business, a lack of skilled
manpower and that the means of transportation of timber were not suitable.
PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY
In the sample of general public, all categories of educational levels, occupations and ages
were represented. More than 70% of the respondents appeared to realize the importance
of trees – the ratio being higher in the educated groups. The respondents above the age of
15 seemed to be sharing similar views.
The respondents were mostly aware of the popular species like Keekar (Acacia Nilotica),
Sheesham (Dalbergia), Eucalyptus, Neem and Mango. But when it came to planting,
which more than fifty percent sated doing, the species selection did not conform to
species awareness pattern. Most educated people reported growing more Eucalyptus and
least educated Acacia.
In maintaining survival rates, most stated water availability as the major reason followed
by soil care and water logging. However, a very small number of respondents had
commented on survival rates.
Around 76% respondents affirmed being aware of Sindh Forest Department and
attributed their knowledge to the TV medium followed by Radio and then by print
Many respondents suggested setting up of more nurseries, planting trees through massive
drives alongside the roads and proving guidance and service to the growers; some
suggested enhancing the involvement of women in developing forestry.