How To Start Toothpick Production In Nigeria: The Complete Guide & Business Plan

How To Start Toothpick Production In Nigeria | Image Source: Pixabay

Toothpicks are simple, yet highly sought-after items all over Nigeria and the world. Despite the CBN-imposed ban on foreign exchange for this commodity, millions of dollars are still spent on its importation every year. The demand for toothpicks spreads across the urban and rural areas of Nigeria, creating a continually growing market for toothpick production in Nigeria.

However, toothpick production in Nigeria remains amply unexplored as investors and entrepreneurs are yet to tap into its full potential. Presently, there are about five toothpick manufacturing companies in Nigeria struggling to meet the demands of over 100 million consumers, while maintaining the quality of their products.

With low local production rates of toothpicks in Nigeria, entrepreneurs can take advantage of toothpick production business in Nigeria with the available raw materials and access to a large local market.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Bamboo Farming & Production Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide

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What Is Toothpick Production In Nigeria About?

The toothpick production business involves the manufacturing of different kinds of toothpicks for commercial and personal purposes. Toothpicks are commodities with no particular target consumers as it is used by any and every one.

Toothpicks can be made from bamboos, birch wood or plastic granules. It removes leftover food particles from the teeth after meals. In some cases, toothpicks are a form of utensils for spearing small bites or as a decoration for exotic drinks.

Nigerian-made toothpicks are manufactured from bamboo wood but in countries like America, birch wood stands as an alternative raw material. Recently, plastic toothpicks have been gaining recognition as the most hygienic and lasting kind of toothpicks in the world.

Although toothpicks are domestic products, its customer base stretches over every food making business in Nigeria like hotel food services, restaurants, and travel industries.

Toothpick production businesses in Nigeria aim at increasing production to meet the needs of consumers within the country. This would reduce importation and set the stage for the exportation of high quality yet affordable toothpicks from the country.

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Business Opportunities In Toothpick Production Around The World

Unemployed individuals or entrepreneurs searching for a business with high turnover rates can explore toothpick production and expect significant profits. The increasing domestic and foreign demands for standard or high-quality toothpicks broaden its market range and generate advantageous business opportunities.

The major business opportunities of toothpick production in Nigeria include:

1). Domestic Business Opportunities:

After production, toothpicks can be sold in large quantities to wholesale or retail outlets. In turn, these outlets sell to consumers for their personal use. Thousands of families and individuals use this product at home every day; after private meals or during celebrations like weddings, burials and birthdays.

2). Food Industry Business Opportunity:

Toothpicks are very popular in the commercial food making industry. This business opportunity revolves around catering services, hotels, bars, restaurants and fast food outlets. Food services make use of toothpicks with each meal they serve their customers.

3). Export Business Opportunity:

The global market is wide open for high-quality commodities. Nigerian toothpick production businesses can compete with countries like China in the export of toothpicks and make more profits from each production.

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Facts And Benefits Of Toothpick Production Business In Nigeria

  • Toothpick production in Nigeria is a viable business opportunity due to widely available raw materials like bamboo in the country.
  • In Nigeria, the market for toothpicks is sustainable as there is a constant and steady demand for the product.
  • Unlike the basic raw materials, the toothpick production machinery is imported from China.
  • Toothpick production in Nigeria can start as a home-based business, reducing the initial capital cost for entrepreneurs.
  • High tariffs and the CBN-imposed ban on foreign exchange for toothpicks have fostered the growth of this industry.
  • The turnover and consumption rates for toothpicks in Nigeria are high and constantly rising.
  • The increasing demand for toothpicks in Nigeria has been met with low supply due to the current, small number of factories.

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Types Of Toothpick Businesses

The three types of toothpick production businesses are:

1). Bamboo Toothpick Production Business:

Bamboo toothpicks are the most produced and used types of toothpicks in the world. Manufacturers either cultivate their own bamboo or buy from bamboo farmers.

Toothpicks with the best quality are made from mature bamboos (3-year old canes). The maximum age for standard quality bamboo toothpicks is five years. Newly harvested canes are stored in a cool, dry place, three days before production.

Three days after, the bamboos are brought out from storage and placed in a slicing machine which reduces them to 1.5 meters of thin sticks. Next, the sticks are moved to a splitting machine to cut them into smaller bits. Right after that, the cross-cutting machine cuts them down to the normal measurements; 6.5 cm in length and 2.5 cm in width.

Polishing machines smoothen out the sticks after the cross-cuts. The sticks are then placed into the sharpening machine to even out the tips. Afterwards, the new toothpicks are bleached, sun-dried and baked in a heated oven.

Later, toothpicks are polished for the second time and then packaged for distribution.

2). Plastic Toothpick Production Business:

Plastic toothpicks are a trending type of toothpicks. They are currently produced by dental hygiene-oriented companies in the world as a more efficient tool for flossing after each meal. Around the globe, this toothpick business is rapidly gaining awareness and consumers.

Using semi-automated or fully automated injection and pressure machines, manufacturers melt plastic granules and inject the liquid into toothpick moulds. After production, the plastic toothpicks are cooled, packaged and sold off to wholesalers or exported to other countries.

Similar to bamboo toothpick production, plastic toothpicks could also be made from home or a more industrial location, depending on the budget. This type of business is rarely known to have been established in Nigeria, but with enough capital, it is an opportunity worth exploring.

3). Wooden Toothpick Production Business:

This production is primarily based in the US or other Western countries where there is an abundance of birch wood; the raw material from which wooden toothpicks are made of. It’s an expensive type of toothpick business and might not be a good option for toothpick production businesses in Nigeria.

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How To Start A Toothpick Production Business In Nigeria: A Step By Step Guide

1). Choose A Toothpick Production Business:

Making a decision on the type of toothpick production business to startup is the first step towards starting toothpick production in Nigeria. Consider the accessibility of raw materials and the proximity to available markets. Also, ensure that the decision conforms to the production and operating capital to avoid unnecessary struggles at the beginning of the business.

2). Create A Good Business Plan:

A detailed layout of the entire process involved in starting a toothpick production business is vital to achieving a successful outcome. Focus on the crucial parts of the business and map out informative plans regarding factory location, workforce, machinery, and method of operation.

The plan should include capital sourcing, business goals, foreseeable plans, target market and growth potential. In addition, conduct a feasibility study on the competition and available market within your location.

3). Capital:

Before starting out, calculate the production and operating capital for the business.

Production capital is the finance required for raw materials, location lease, machinery, and staffs that would run the production operations. Based on information gathered, sum up an estimate of the required operating capital. That includes expenses for wages, raw materials, utility bills, and distribution.

To finance production, use savings or take loans from commercial/merchant banks. While banks may require collaterals like landed properties, cooperatives or soft loans from friends and families are other options for fundraising.

Lastly, there are loans schemes or grant programs established by the Nigerian government to aid budding entrepreneurs.

See Also: 10 Things To Do If Your Startup Capital Is Not Enough

4). Choose The Production Location:

The toothpick factory should be in a strategic location to either reduce initial capital or operating cost. Good production sites are usually close to the customer for distribution and transportation ease.

The leased space should be large enough to house machinery, storage, and workforce. Small warehouses with storefronts are preferable. To lower starting cost, turn unused spaces in the home to the production sites i.e. home-based factories.

5). Business Registration:

To legitimize your business in Nigeria, register your venture with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria. In addition, indicate the type of ownership; sole proprietorship or partnership during the registration process.

6). Quality Permits:

One of the permits required for toothpick production in Nigeria and several other countries in Africa or worldwide is a trade license to operate. In addition, get information concerning value added tax, certifications, environmental and pollution guidelines, and much more.

7). Machinery:

Automated machines are the principal forces in toothpick production in Nigeria or anywhere around the world. The two types of toothpick engines are semi-automated and fully-automated injection molding machines. Some toothpick machines are produced in Nigeria while the rest are imported.

Purchasing high-quality machinery is a way to ensure efficient operations and machine-life longevity.

The machines for toothpick production in Nigeria are;

  1. Slitting machine
  2. Sharpening machine
  3. Round cross-cutting machine
  4. Scrap grinding machine
  5. Dry colour mixer
  6. Slicing machine
  7. Polishing machine
  8. Packaging machine
  9. A variety of moulds
  10. Mould lifting machinery
  11. Weighing scales and
  12. Packaging machine

8). Market and Sell Your Product:

Product packaging is a necessary step in toothpick production in Nigeria and everywhere else. Great packaging differentiates one product from another, appeals to customers, and captures their interest.

Toothpicks are usually placed in small plastic cups with different colors. Create a space in your budget for a simple but attractive package.

Furthermore, build a distribution network. Target store owners, caterers, restaurants, wholesalers, and traders within and outside your city, state, or country. Export supply on a contractual basis is a great way to earn considerable profits from the toothpick production business.

You should essentially spend money on marketing.

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Challenges Of The Toothpick Production Business

  • Expensive semi-automated and fully automated machines are required.
  • Inadequate capital for production and operations is a challenge to budding entrepreneurs in the toothpick production business.
  • Continual importation of substandard toothpicks from China stifles the growth of the toothpick production businesses in Nigeria.
  • Toothpick factories need at least 20 hours of uninterrupted power supply for each production cycle. Because of the incessant poor power supply in Nigeria, toothpick manufacturers rely heavily on diesel to operate their machinery.
  • The sub-standard quality of most Nigerian-made toothpicks lessens its value in the international market and reduces domestic demand.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Food Processing And Packaging Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide



The toothpick production business in Nigeria is a lucrative business opportunity for people interested in meeting the rising demand for the commodity.

The basic raw material for toothpick production is abundantly available within the country, and as a start, production can be home-based. After manufacturing and packaging your toothpicks, you can distribute to local markets, food businesses, and even export to other countries at a high turnover rate.

Finally, taking the right steps towards starting this business lowers the chances of challenges that could cripple or stunt its growth. All entrepreneurs need are substantial capital, production equipment, quality products, a dedicated workforce, and the right market strategies to make considerable profits from the venture.


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What are your thoughts on how to start a toothpick production business in Nigeria or Africa? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


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