A large group of US business leaders traveled to Cuba with President Obama. They’re hoping to rebuild commercial ties starting with tractors. Source: CCTV America
One deal that has already been signed will allow the first US factory to be built in Cuba in more than half a century.
Thousands of Cuban farmers headed to Havana last week for the annual Agricultural Fair, a chance to compete for best in breed and to show off their skills at the rodeo. But there was another ride at the fair, which was also attracting considerable attention.
It’s a small American designed tractor by Cleber which has received permission from both Washington and Havana to be manufactured in Cuba.
It’s based on an updated 1940s design, used when the US still had plenty of small family farms.
The cofounder of the project is a Cuban-American who left after the Revolution and is now looking for ways to help the country of his birth.
Many family farms in Cuba still rely on oxen to plough their fields, and those tractors that do exist are often in need of repair.
Around 90%of the tractors in Cuba are more than 30 years old, according to a recent article in the official newspaper Granma. And most of them are owned by the state, not the farmers.
US food producers are lining up, hoping to boost exports to Cuba. But the priority here is to increase production at home and reduce costly imports.
It’s one reason why the Cuban government is allowing this cheap low tech American tractor to be manufactured here.