Since entering the Indian market, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) has been focusing efforts on increasing interest in B.C. species within India’s furniture manufacturing sector through the ‘Try Canadian Wood’ program. By introducing small quantities of B.C. wood for product trials, manufacturers are able to become familiar with the favourable properties and workability of B.C. softwoods.
While the ‘Try Canadian Wood’ program has seen great success in India, the process of moving from initial trials, through product acceptance and into commercialization can be lengthy. FII India must provide ongoing technical assistance to ensure manufacturers understand the specific requirements of working with B.C. softwoods as opposed to traditional hardwoods. However, when trials are completed and result in future commercial orders, this has a significant impact on efforts to expand the use of Canadian wood products across India’s furniture sector.
In an example of such an effort, FII India began forming inroads with a local furniture manufacturer – Vamani Overseas in 2017. Initial trials consisted of a small supply of B.C. softwoods purchased locally through Indian importers (stockists). Vamani Overseas continued to receive technical support and assistance throughout the trial process to ensure the wood was suitable within a variety furniture applications. In 2020, 13 containers of B.C. species were ordered, and the products made with western hemlock were listed in the West Elm e-catalogue – a popular international furniture store.
Vamani Overseas is one of many Indian manufacturers shifting its focus towards exporting finished products to western countries. Since many international markets require wood to be sustainably sourced, this presents further opportunities for B.C.’s certified forest products in India as the country becomes a global furniture manufacturing hub.
Successes such as this are an important factor in continuing to expand awareness of B.C. species across India. Through the ‘Try Canadian Wood’ program, FII India continues to forge relationships with local manufacturers and grow knowledge around the favourable properties of B.C. wood within furniture applications.