Nairobi, Aug. 7 -- The State has locked out public and private sugar millers from importing sugar in what is likely to hand well-connected sugar barons a new window to mint billions.

The Ministry of Agriculture says private businessmen will be allowed to bring in 100,200 metric tonnes of sugar during the four-month importation window.

President William Ruto said last week that Kenya would import 100,200 tonnes of sugar outside the Common Markets of East and Central Africa (Comesa) region following a shortage of the sweetener.

The country produces about 600,000 tonnes of sugar per year against an annual consumption of 800,000 tonnes.

Sugar prices have hit a high of Sh490 per 2-kilogramme for the brand of Ndhiwa Sugar Company whose kilo...