Mitsui earlier this week said it will acquire 25 percent of Multigrain AG, which owns the Brazilian grain group Multigrain SA, from its major shareholders CHS and PMG Trading. The firm said the shares will be formally acquired once permission has been obtained from the Brazilian authority. Multigrain, which focuses on the export of soybeans and sugar as well as the import of wheat, will allow Mitsui to help secure food resources in an environment of increasingly tight supplies. "Demand for soybean, corn and sugarcane crops has, against the background of the economic development of emerging nations, grown rapidly not only for use as foodstuffs but also for purposes of bio-energy and it is expected that securing food resources will become increasingly important in future. Japan's level of self-sufficiency in soybean is around 5 percent and the maintenance of a stable supply from overseas is imperative," said the firm. "By securing a supply base for grains in Brazil, which has the greatest potential in the world for expanding its agricultural land and increasing agricultural production, Mitsui intends to contribute to meeting demand for food not only in Japan but also in the rest of Asia." Multigrain is a holding company established in September 2006 by US grain firm CHS and the Brazilian agricultural commodity trading company PMG, and owns the 100 percent subsidiary Multigrain SA as its operating company in Brazil. Multigrain operates soybean origination using storage facilities in 17 locations in Brazil, focussing on states in the central and northern regions such as Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Bahia, Maranhão and Tocantins, where there is the possibility of expanding agricultural land and where comparatively high quality soybeans are produced, said Mitsui. Mulitgrain currently exports soybean to Japan, China and other countries in Asia and Europe from the ports of Tubarão, Ponta da Madeira and Santos. Mitsui and CHS are already partners in a number of other ventures, including the jointly-operated Ventura Foods and United Harvest in the US. The investment is the firms' first cooperation outside the US, and Mitsui said it forms one element of its global food strategy.