Industry | Labour | Government - Developing the South African Furniture Industry for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Furniture Industry Master Plan

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in partnership with the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI), including other relevant industry-specific stakeholders has collaboratively commissioned the development of the Furniture Industry Master Plan.

The main objectives of the Master Plan are two fold:

    1. To develop a short-term (defensive) strategy on how to best protect the current industry and to retain existing businesses; and,
    2. to develop a growth plan, outlining how to improve productivity and competitiveness in the industry, create employment, and create markets for locally produced furniture products.

      The Master Plan is a framework that outlines the industry’s constraints and cost drivers along the value chain, from the structure of demand to inputs and production technologies, as well as potential opportunities. Most importantly, it mapped out the pathways and interventions to be undertaken to achieve these objectives.

The furniture industry faces a number of challenges, that negatively affect the industry’s competitiveness. The FIMP prioritizes the following challenges faced by the local industry.

      • Poor skills demand and supply fit
      • High input costs – the cost of production
      • Declining investment in capital equipment.
      • Insufficient research and development.
      • Low levels of transformation
      • Influx of imports – Competition from cheaper imports
      • Access to market
      • Loadshedding


Strategic Objective: Increase the local manufacturing and production of local furniture products and support demand for locally manufactured finished products

Key Actions

  1. Implement focused interventions to increase local furniture sales to consumers, retailers, the government and institutional buyers.
  2. Implement focussed interventions through the SARS Furniture Forum to monitor and reduce illegal / under-declared / incorrectly declared imports to level the competition between importers and local manufacturers.
  3. Strengthen the implementation and monitoring of furniture designation and government procurement of locally manufactured furniture.
  4. Commission a Service Provider to conduct a thorough value chain analysis that will facilitate the setting of realistic targets to secure industry commitments through indicative baseline data.


Strategic Objective: Invest in the competitiveness, stability, and growth of Grow small- and medium-sized furniture manufacturers of furniture into larger and more stable companies through an innovative partnership between Manufacturers, Labour, Raw Material Suppliers, Retailers, and the Government.

Key Actions

  1. To monitor the implementation of the Furniture Industry Challenge Fund, developed in partnership with Government and social partners in the furniture industry (Industry, DFI, and Government).
  2. To secure strategic partnership commitments from the non-financial support services.
  3. To report on the implementation of the Furniture Industry Challenge Fund.

Export Promotion

Strategic Objective: Increase the local manufacturing and production of local furniture products and support export demand for locally manufactured finished products.

Key Actions

  1. Growing export markets, particularly in the region through the AfCFTA, TFTA, SACU, and SADC trade agreements as well as other markets where South Africa has preferential agreements (AGOA, UK/EU-EPA, etc.). To make input into government negotiation strategies for export opportunities for the furniture sector through the AfCFTA and other trade agreements.
  2. Explore channels to African markets including via retailers, hospitality industries, and property developers.
  3. Promoting South African Furniture products through trade promotion and investing in building a uniquely South African Furniture brand by strengthening the furniture design programme.

Raw Material

Strategic Objective: To enable the industry to establish short- and medium-term supply solutions aligned to demand and to build local capacity to manufacture imported products of raw material.

Key Actions

  1. Increase the current particleboard capacity to improve the supply of board to manufacturing and support local furniture manufacturers.
  2. Investigate short-term supply measures.
  3. The value chain analysis will incorporate the following issues related to raw materials:
    a. Supply & demand assessment for critical inputs in the South African furniture industry including board products.
    b. Build local and regional capacity to manufacture imported products of raw materials. Work closely with Timber, Metals (Steel, Aluminium, etc.), Plastic, Glass and Textile Industries.
    c. Develop value add and investigate alternative products to support the localisation of medium to high-end products.
  4. To improve the availability of raw materials.

Skills Development

Strategic Objective: Invest in skills development to improve current and future skills across the value chain.

Key Actions

Effective Skills Supply Strategy to Furniture Industry:

  1. A thorough assessment of the training needs of each sub-sector in the industry to address skills misalignment.
  2. Skill transfer program of ageing artisans.
  3. Industry to provide inputs to skills needed to be linked to technology, machinery and equipment upgrade including digital skills.
  4. Finalise the furniture skills strategy and implementation plan.

Qualifications and curriculum upgrade and repurpose where required.

  1. Strengthen the Furniture Design Program and strategic partnership with stakeholders with the view to promote exports.


Strategic Objective: Improve Transformation across the Value Chain.

Key Actions

  1. To develop and implement a transformation strategy for the industry.
  2. To develop and implement an SMME entry and sustainability support programme.
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