Cutlery, in general, refers to all types of cutting instruments which may be used for industrial, commercial or domestic purposes. Cutlery products are generally classified into two categories namely kitchenware and non-kitchenware. The detail of products included in each category is depicted in table 1
||Spoons, forks, ladles, skimmers, cake-servers, fish-knives, butcher-knives, sugar tongs and similar kitchen or tableware.
| Non Kitchenware
|| Knives and cutting blades, for machines or for mechanical appliances.
|| Knives with cutting blades, serrated or not (including pruning knives), other than knives of heading 82.08, and blades thereof.
|| Razors and razor blades.
|| Scissors, tailors’ shears and similar shears, and blades thereof.
|| Other articles of cutlery (hair clippers, butchers’ or kitchen cleavers, choppers and mincing knives, paper knives); manicure or pedicure sets and instruments (including nail files)
|| Swords, cutlasses, bayonets, lances and similar arms and parts thereof and scabbards and sheaths thereof
Located in the traditional metal workmanship triangle of Punjab, is the town of Wazirabad where the major part of the cutlery industry of Pakistan is clustered. However, some of the cutlery manufacturers are present in Sialkot, Lahore, Karachi and Dir (KPK) also. One important segment of industry (shaving blades and disposable razors) is entirely situated outside Wazirabad.
The history of metalworking in the vicinity of Wazirabad dates back to the times when Alexander the Great invaded India but it was in the time of British when the craftsmen of this area were recognized for their skills in cutlery. In its early days the town used to produce arms and ammunition for British Indian Army. During the World War II, the industry in and around Wazirabad, was manufacturing arms and accessories like bayonets, karpans, knives, daggers, etc. for allied forces. After the World War II, the market for war related products dried up. Soon after, most of the Hindu businessmen left because of partition of India and with it a huge
Sub-continental market was lost. This industry, therefore, had to go through restructuring and diversification. The industry emerged out of the crises with product diversification and started manufacturing cutlery, knives of various kinds, blades, scissors, shears, daggers, swords, replicas of swords and knives for decorative purposes and kitchenware. Ever since, the industry has grown and has weathered many up & down swings.
The industry essentially comprises of SMEs. There are over 400 units directly associated with the manufacturing of different cutlery products out of which 15-20 units may be classified as medium. More than 150 cutlery manufacturers are members of “Pakistan Cutlery and Stainless Steel Utensils Manufacturers Association”. The total installed capacity of the cutlery industry is to the tune of 8 million pieces whereas the production is 4.3 – 4.5 million pieces, according to the aforementioned association. The direct and indirect employment of this industry is estimated to be around 25,000. The cutlery industry contributes 0.11% to the country’s GDP and has a share of 0.25% and 6.5% in total exports and engineering exports respectively. The industry occupies the domestic market space (90 %+) and very few items of cutlery, kitchenware and blades are imported.
The major raw materials used by this industry include stainless steel sheet, re-melted metals, brass sheets, densified wood, camel bones, steel wire and plastics. Among different grades of steel being used for cutlery is Damascus steel which yields best finish for the products. All the raw materials used by this industry, whether produced locally or imported, are easily available.