On December 5th, 2018, the third annual Wood Industry Convention was held in Prishtina to promote Made in Kosovo furniture and support the growth of Kosovo’s wood-processing industry. The event gathered wood processors, government agencies, donors, international buyers, and relevant wood-processing industry stakeholders. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, USAID Mission Director Lisa Magno and the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden Nasrin Pourghazian spoke at the opening of the Convention. They emphasized the importance of the wood-processing industry for Kosovo’s economic growth. Prime Minister Haradinaj noted that “In Kosovo, there are parameters for wood-processing companies to make products of excellent quality that are competitive in international markets.” Recent data from Kosovo Customs shows that exports of Kosovo-made wood furniture and interior products have increased by over 22% from €23M in 2017 to €28M in November 2018.
In her address, USAID Mission Director Lisa Magno praised Kosovo’s wood processors on their innovation and quality of products and increasing exports. “The wood processing sector in one of the most developed, and I would say, one of the most exciting industries in the country. It is growing at a fast pace and has enormous potential to grow even more.” said USAID Mission Director Lisa Magno.
The Wood Industry Convention provided an important avenue for Kosovo wood-processing companies to increase their visibility and promote their products. Over 300 people visited the booths of the 25 companies that exhibited Kosovo-made wood furniture, doors, windows and interior products. The exhibition showcased the strong capabilities of Kosovo’s wood-processing sector and served as a presentation to attending buyers and sales agents.
Kosovo wood-processing companies had the opportunity to negotiate business and increase exports through the 71 Business-to-Business meetings that took place during and after the Convention with local and international buyers. The meetings continued the days following the Convention, during visits by the international buyers and sales agents at the various wood-processing companies with support from EMPOWER Private Sector and the Association of Wood Processors of Kosovo.
There was strong interest in the industry forum presentations and discussions held at the Convention on a variety of topics including success stories and challenges faced by the industry, new technologies in wood-processing, donor activities in the sector, and the cooperation between universities and the private sector. This provided an opportunity for industry stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge, and to learn.
The Convention also served as a stage for talented youth to showcase their furniture and interior product designs. The designs of the 40 finalists of the Best Student Design Contest 2018 were exhibited during the event. Wood-processors took careful note of the designs with intention to connect with them for future collaborations. The Convention concluded with an awards ceremony, where the finalists were awarded certificates, and the top three designs were awarded prizes. Elion Bilalli, Elmedina Hyseni, and Dea Rama, won first, second and third prize respectively. While, Besar Krasniqi won a special prize from SCM wood processing technology company. The company also committed to produce the product designed by the student and exhibit it at next year’s Wood Industry Convention.
The third edition of the Wood Industry Convention was organized by the Association of Wood Processors of Kosovo (AWPK) and USAID EMPOWER Private Sector in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Wood-processing technology companies Biesse, SCM and PEBST also sponsored the event.