By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento (The Freeman) | Updated January 21, 2014 – 12:00am
CEBU, Philippines – The wrath of super typhoon Yolanda that ravaged the Visayas region two months ago has somehow affected the Philippine furniture industry especially those players exporting to the wholesale market abroad.
Philippines International Furniture Show (PIFS) 2014 chair Christina Gaston said that the calamity has indirectly impinged on the production of the furniture makers in the country.
She cited that they actually source some of their raw materials, semi-processed goods and skills from the Visayas region including Leyte and Samar which have been badly hit by the typhoon.
She said that those workers creating semi-processed materials are also as important as the primary manufacturers and exporters in the furniture sector.
“The semi-processed products, raw materials and even the manpower are all affected by Yolanda,” she said.
Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation consultant Ruby Salutan echoed the same sentiments as Gaston, saying that the Yolanda victims are among the important providers in the supply chain.
She cited that for instance, looms and abaca that are used for producing woven products are also affected since agricultural properties in the region were among those destroyed during the storm surge.
She said that furniture manufacturers were quite challenged with the delay of sourcing the materials needed for their production.
As they are not certain of how fast these areas could recover, Gaston further noted that they have to find alternatives of sourcing the materials used since exporters have to be fast in delivering their products particularly to the wholesale market.
Among the top five promising markets for Philippine exporters that they identified include United States, Japan, Indonesia, Italy and Netherlands. They are also eyeing opportunities in Brazil and Russia as potential markets.
Although the typhoon victims have a limited capacity of producing for the industry as of now, Gaston said that there are programs wherein they can showcase their products in some areas and regain their livelihood eventually.
Salutan remained hopeful, on the other hand, that the industry including the typhoon victims shall rise from the calamity in time given the resiliency of Filipinos.
“We are trying our best to recover from the situation. Adversities will make us more creative,” she stated. —/JMD (FREEMAN)