On Sunday President Barack Obama is set his historic visit to Cuba, the first U.S. president to visit the island in almost 90 years. Obama will be accompanied by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker along with a large business delegation.
CCTV’s Michael Voss reports from Havana.
First US-owned factory in half a century aims to make Cuba more self-sufficientOn Sunday President Barack Obama is set his historic visit to Cuba, the first U.S. president to visit the island in almost 90 years. Obama will be accompanied by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker along with a large business delegation.
Cuba has agreed to allow the first U.S.-owned factory to be built in Cuba in more than half a century. It will manufacture small tractors for use on Cuba’s family farms. Cuba imports up to 80 percent of its food, and making the country more self-sufficient is one of President Raul Castro’s priorities.
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 which has received permission from both Washington and Havana to be manufactured in Cuba.
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 percent 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.
U.S. 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 in the country.
Lorenzo Perez on Obama’s upcoming trip to Cuba
CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Lorenzo Perez, a former deputy director for the International Monetary Fund. He’s also a member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy.