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Mitsui Expands Into Japan Agriculture With Tomato Farm Venture

Mitsui & Co., the most reliant of Japan’s trading houses on commodity profits, said it will enter the domestic agriculture market by setting up a vegetable farm.

Tokyo-based Mitsui will hold a 49 percent stake of a new company that will produce and sell tomatoes on a specialized farm in Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, the trader said in a statement. Local agriculture firm Salad Bowl will own the rest.

The facility will sit on 10 hectares (25 acres) of land, Mitsui said. Operations, powered by solar panels, will begin on a 3 hectare plot this year.

Japanese trading houses, which include Marubeni Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp., are switching focus to grains, seafood and food ingredients, as their mainstays of iron ore and coal yield less profit due to slowing Chinese demand.

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