According to published reports in Cuba Standard, John Deere & Co. executives signed an agreement at the Havana Fair Nov. 2 to supply farm tractors to Cuba. This is the first direct sale of U.S. machines to Cuba in more than half a century. The sale of farm tractors and implements to the Cuban agriculture sector will “improve food security for the Cuban people,” said Deere & Co. spokesman Ken Golden.
“Deere believes that improvements in the Cuban agricultural sector would improve the availability and affordability of food for the general population,” Golden said. “The dairy, row-crop and fruit and vegetable are sectors of specific emphasis.”
The announcement comes a day after a Caterpillar dealer announced it will open a distribution center at the Mariel Special Development Zone, becoming the first U.S. company to have a physical presence in the high-profile development project.
Both companies seem to be racing to establish a foothold in Cuba before the Trump administration slams the door. In July, President Donald Trump announced he would prohibit sales to armed forces-controlled entities.
A first shipment of Deere tractors is scheduled to arrive in Cuba in mid-November.
“This equipment is for testing and appraisal to ensure it will work with specific Cuban agricultural conditions and farming practices,” Golden said.
The plan calls for shipments of “several hundred tractors and associated implements” over a 4 year period, Golden said. The vast majority of the tractors to be sold will be the company’s baseline 5000 series, between 75-115 horsepower; a small number of 7000 series tractors could also be part of the sale.
John Deere Finance, the company’s in-house entity, is handling financial arrangements.