COFCO will join with Japanese trading firm Itochu to buy grain and other agricultural commodities in global markets, the Financial Times reported. The state-owned food processing group will work with Itochu to procure grain, meat and other commodities to counter rising food costs. Rising food prices have been blamed for boosting inflation in China this year, although the effect has moderated somewhat recently. Itochu also said the agreement could increase sales in China of higher-end Japanese agricultural products, such as Kobe beef. China is self-sufficient in most agricultural commodities, but is dependent on imports for key crops such as soybeans.