The scarcity of forex is being used as a scapegoat to import large volumes of wheat flour illegally, choking the local producers who are now scaling down production as they are failing to make enough sells to sustain operations.
Lilongwe's Capital Foods limited is one of such affected companies and has put on hold its production operations for three weeks now due to unsold stocks-giving in to what it called cheap smuggled wheat flour from neighbouring countries.
"If this is to continue we will have to start scaling down production as our friends from Blantyre are doing," bemoaned Managing Director (MD), Mohsin Salim.
The company which started in 2005 with an initial investment of U$12 million faces a bleak future as over 300 jobs are under threat.
A visit to the company on Wednesday by Minister of Industry and Trade, John Bande confirmed the situation.
He (Bande) described the situation as worrisome.
"I will call for a meeting with all (wheat flour) producers to get more information, and we have to see the illegal products available on the market," Bande said, "Once we establish the market situation my Ministry will put strict measures to control importation of wheat flour."
He further said government cannot be encouraging companies to produce more at the same time "carelessly" allowing imports to flood the local market and affect local producers.
The company appealed to government to enforce wheat flour importation controls to curb the influx of cheap flour on the market.
According to the company's MD the company produces 300 tonnes per day and normally sells 200 to 280 tonnes daily.
But for the past three weeks the company says it is only selling 20 tonnes per day hence causing an accumulation of about 900 tonnes of the flour in its warehouses.
Salim said the company depends largely on the local market as it only exports 20 per cent of the tota