Nairobi, Jan. 31 -- Local rice millers have protested their lockout from the importation of the commodity under the duty-free window, terming the move as discriminatory.

The Agriculture Ministry has allowed traders to import at least 600,000 tonnes of duty-free rice between February and August to tame the high cost of food in the country.

The government has only issued shipping permits to traders.

Agriculture PS Harsama Kerrow says it is not an exclusive right for millers to bring in the produce and that traders too should be allowed to ship in the grain.

"What we have permitted to be shipped in is milled rice and any trader who meets the requirement can bring it because it is rice that is ready for market and does not need milling ag...