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Tongue Depressor, Tooth Pick and Ice Cream Spoon Making Plant

1. Product Description:-   A tongue  depressor is a flat wooden narrow shaped object used by health care professionals to see the inside parts of the mouth of a patient. It is made in such a way to depress the tongue of the patient so that the physician can see the inside of the month. A tooth pick is a short pointed piece of wood used for removing bits of food from between the mouth. Tooth picks are produced from chopped wood splints. Tooth picks are mostly used in restaurants and hotels. Households also buy these products for family use. Ice cream spoon is a flat formed wooden spoon used for eating ice cream.


2. Market Potential:- Tooth picks and tongue depressors are simple products made from wood but they are essential products for health. Even ice cream spoons have become necessary in urban areas where ice cream is becoming a popular food item especially by children of high income groups. Though these three products can be produced locally, they are still being imported. In 1995, consumption of tongue depressors was 4.2 million pieces, consumption of tooth picks was 287000 packets and consumption of ice cream spoons was 1.4 million. In 2007, projected demand for tongue depressors will be 6.8 million, for tooth picks:- 406,000 and for ice cream spoons:- 24,000 or 2.4 million. The current demand for these products is sufficient for making a plant financially viable.


3. Source of Raw Materials:- The main raw materials are wood splints, ply wood, and disinfectant chemicals. Except the chemical, the other raw materials will be obtained from domestic sources.


4. Process and Technology:- Chopped wood splints are first sized manually and fed to the rolling and sharpening machine. One end of the stick will be sharpened and the whole part will have a round or flat shape. Plywood will be manually fed to the punching machine which produces tongue depressors. The tooth picks and the depressors are then immersed in a disinfectant solution. After this, the products are packed in small plastic bags. Required machinery include rolling and sharpening machine, wood sheet punching machine, surface grinder, disinfectant preparation tank, plastic sheets sealing equipment and other miscellaneous tools.


5. Estimated Investment:- For a plant which will produce about 4.5 million pieces of tooth picks and 6 million pieces of tongue depressors and ice cream spoons per year, the estimated investment will be:-

§  Building/shade – 150m2 at Birr 1500/m2  =    Birr      225,000

§  Machinery ……………………………… =   Birr      100,000

§  Working  capital …………….………… =    Birr       50,000

                                                                        Total   =         Birr     375,000


6. Benefits:-  Assists in health care activities, saves foreign exchange, promotes self-sufficiency, utilizes local resources, introduces new stills and technology.


7. Location:-  Any urban center where wood splints will be available.