American businessman plans manufacturing plant in Cuba

8193136_GHAVANA,  June 30  A Jackson County businessman hopes to be the first to land a small tractor manufacturing plant in Cuba.

The initial go-ahead has been approved in Cuba. Now, they’re awaiting the final approval from Washington.

This comes after the Obama administration opened up relations between the two countries.

Cuba is a very poor country, but businessman Horace Clemmons says he’s looking forward to helping the people there be more productive.

Horace Clemmons and his partner Saul Berenthal hope to make a difference there. Clemmons says with relations now opened, his company, Cleber, sees opportunities in Cuba – where nearly 80-percent of their food is imported.

“Cuba is going to push more responsibility on the local farmers,” Clemmons said. “We decided the best thing we could do is build the most cost-effective tractor.”

So they’ve developed the “Oggun,” or Iron Horse Tractor, translated to English.

It is a simple tractor made with simple, easy to find and replace parts, which costs around $5-6,000.

The goal, Clemmons said, is to be manufacturing in Cuba in three years but start off with a temporary facility near Mobile.

“For the first period of time, we will be cutting all the parts and shipping it for assembly in Cuba,” said Clemmons.

Clemmons feels that by establishing relations there. it will only help other Alabama businesses.

“We will ensure that we have a very good reputation as people that are easy to do business with, and I believe that will go a long way for any small business in Alabama that wants to do business in Cuba,” he said.

Clemmons says they’re already working on an electric prototype tractor that has a solar refueling station.