Assessment of Wood Selection and Utilization Efficiency by Small Scale Furniture Industries in Nigeria (A Study of Selected Northern States)
Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is based on wood selection and utilization by furniture industries in Maiduguri and Bauchi metropolis. This will go a long way in improving the utilizations of the scarce solid wood in the small scale furniture workshops in Selected Northern states. The specific objectives are:
1. To assess the educational requirement to be an effective furniture maker.
2. To identify the common tree species used in furniture making.
3. To identify the various lumber dimension used in furniture making.
4. To evaluate the actual volume of wood used in furniture making
5. To evaluate the volume of wood waste generated from plank conversion and waste management practices by small scale furniture industries in the study area.
Global View of the Furniture Industry
One of the world biggest furniture exporters Canada categorizes wooden furniture as a value added product of wood (BCSS, 2004). It comprises of indoor wooden items of convenience such as chairs, Beds, Kitchen waves and fitting chairs. The versatility and diversity of furniture products means that furniture making all over the world is an industry that calls for innovation research and technological improvement to meet the growing demands of its consumers (Dunnigan, 2004).
Consequently, the world market realizes, the big volume of wooden furniture of up to 11 billion cubic meters annually in the major furniture exporting countries that includes Canada USA, Malaysia and Russia. This is related to the world deforestation rates of up to 13 million hectares of forest per year, estimated between the year 2000 and 2005 (FAO, 2005). This calls for optimum furniture production with appropriate measures to either maintain or increase the forest resources. Mitigation measures aimed at obtaining an optimum and sustainable supply of wood to the furniture industry includes carrying out research on Timber properties with the aim of modifying it to achieve minimal consumption without comparing on quality (Jarrisen and Home, 2003). This is partly because of the furniture desire to minimize cost of wood materials due to its scarcity. They capitalized on wood volume minimization by reducing the size of the wooden members at the expense of quality and durability. Therefore many of the furniture products, especially from developing Asia made for the developing world market do not last for more than one generation (IWPR, 2005).
Furniture Production in Nigeria
It has been observed that the most widely distributed of the wood-based industries in Nigeria is the furniture sub-section (Lucas and Olorunnisola 2002). By estimation, an overage of a wooden furniture workshop exists in about too square meters apart in most of Nigeria town. Abdullah (2003) reported that facilities for furniture produce in Nigeria range in size from small scale factories to medium and large scale industries. The spread of small-scale furniture workshops in Nigeria may be attributed to the wide availability of wood and possibility of using simple tools for production of furniture The Nigeria market is saturated with wooden furniture products from these indigenous furniture makers. These furniture items are however, noted for their short service life, attributable to non-adherence to detailed engineering principles in design and construction. The problem of short-service life seems considerable in Nigeria because the bulk of furniture items produced in the country are manufactured by craftsmen. Indeed craftsmen seldom have adequate knowledge of wood intrinsic properties. Many furniture items are manufactured by trial and error. One major reason for this is the complete absence of input from materials researchers. Hence all their activities are based on the rules of thumb. To date many furniture manufacturers still based their production decisions on previous experience (furniture IDS, 2006). Nails are the commonest connectors in use except in few cases, where Adhesive or glue is use in addition. Examination of damage of furniture is a recent survey revealed that most of the failures were associated with nails withdrawal.
The advance in materials and in manufacturing capabilities are now allowing furniture manufacturers to create pieces that are comparative, but still durable enough to stand up to the rigors of use. In the fast, furniture manufacturers would produce a product that end-users saw for the first time when it was brought or delivered. In general, the industry is noted to have several constrains and opportunities that come with small-scale production. Material researchers especially in Nigeria should collaborate with the producers to work on how to better manage the heterogeneous and anisotropic nature of wood for effective utilization to meet the demand of the new dispensation in furniture making. This is necessary to correct the present lack of requisite knowledge in wooden furniture design of various production levels in Nigeria.
Problem Faced by Small Scale Wooden Furniture Workshop in Nigeria
The furniture industry is an important sector of the Nigeria economy in terms of annual consumption, employment generation and socio-economic development. The furniture industry is currently constrained with the escalating price of wood. The escalating prices were noted by Adeyoju and Enabor (1995), when they observed that price of wood species kept rising geometrically over the years both within producing and consuming areas.
Also constrain especially the small-scale wooden furniture is the management problem, such as planning, information system, organizational structure not clearly defined etc. In addition, small-scale furniture workshops also faced with manufacturing problems such as manufacturing planning and control of waste generated in manufacturing process, poor effectiveness in labour utilization, lack of detect control and low production capacity. Others include law level of educational qualification, poor equipment arrangement and insufficient space.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Description of the Study Area
The study area was divided into two locations; Selected Northern states. They were selected because of their level of business activity with attributes like being the central business district and the largest cities in the North eastern part of Nigeria. Location 1 is Bauchi and the capital city of Bauchi state while location II is Maiduguri and is equally the capital city of Borno State. Both of them are from Northeastern part of Nigeria (Fig.1). This implies that a variety of timber from the southern part of the country find their way into Selected Northern states for trading.
Bauchi metropolis located at 10o 19’N and 9o 50’E. It is the capital city of Bauchi State, they bordered with plateau state in the west, Jigawa state on the North, Kano on the North-West, Yobe State in the North and Gombe state on the East (Fig. 2).
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
Since the act of furniture making required taken measurement and high level of precision, the educational requirement to be a good furniture maker is presented in Table 3. The response of the furniture makers to minimum educational requirement varies greatly. The result shows that 45% of the respondents were of the opinion that post primary education is necessary, this was followed by 40% that are of the opinion that post secondary school like technical school, college of education, polytechnic and University degree will help a lot, while 15% were of the opinion that primary education is enough to learn the art of furniture making. Meanwhile, 70 % of the furniture makers were of the opinion that they did not need additional training after apprenticeship to become expert in furniture making while 30% claimed additional training will help a lot. To master the art of carpentry and joinery works, 10% of the furniture makers are of the view that one can learn furniture making in 1-3 years while 50% and 40% of the furniture makers were of the view that 4-5 years or more than 5 years, respectively is required.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The main objective of this study is to assess the efficiency of wood utilization by small-scale furniture makers, bearing in mind the need to maximize utilization of scarce resources used in future makers, bearing in mind the need to maximize utilization of scarce resources used in furniture making. From the results of this study, the following conclusion can be made.
- It takes an average of 4-5 years of an apprentice to learn the act of furniture making. But, it takes an average of 10-15 years post-apprenticeship to master the art and development of innovation in furniture making.
- Wood residues management practices among the furniture makers in the study areas are generally poor. The act of burning residues needs to be checked and instead the residues should be put into profitable use.
- Wood conversion and processing practices by the furniture makers in the study areas are generally wasteful.
- There is strict adherence to the use of 12ft log which in many cases has no correlation with the percentage of volume of furniture parts recovered after conversion.
- Similarly, the frequency of demand for a particular lumber dimension for furniture making had negative correlation with the quantity and volume of furniture parts recovered.
- Preference for a particular wood species is largely based on customer demand, wood quality, availability and price in that order.
- The furniture makers still depend on traditional timber species like, Milicia excelsa, Gmelina arborea, Mansonia altisima, Terminalia ivorensis, Khaya senegalensis, while lesser known wood species like, Pterecarpus erinaceus, Azadirachta indica, Anogeisus leucapus, Prosopis africana and Balanite eagypteaca which are commonly found in sudano-sahelian region are either fairly or rarely used.
1 Since furniture makers need to read and take measurements, the apprentist should be encouraged to have at least post primary school education. This will encourage their level of precision in taken measurement, wood conversion and furniture making.
2 There is need to develop innovations in wood residues utilization so as to maximize wood utilization.
3 Precision should be encouraged in order to improve conversion efficiency by furniture makers.
4 There should be flexibility in the primary conversion of short length logs. This will encourage the utilization of short lengths like bolts and branches rather than being rigid on the use of 12ft log. This will encourage efficient utilization of timber resources.
5 Attempt should be made to encourage the use of lesser known timber species particularly those species in sudano-sahelian region in furniture making.
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