Agakerim J. is 63-year-old farmer, who runs his small business consisting of two cows from which he sells milk. Agakerim lives in Saatli region, in Alisoltanli village, which is situated in the southern part of Azerbaijan. He started his business in 1993, when he purchased his first cow. Together with his wife he started to sell milk and yogurt; this business helped them to improve their life conditions.
Soon after, when they had saved some money, Agakerim purchased another cow. The milk and yogurt is in high demand all across Azerbaijan. Life in the village is become harder and harder every day, because there is much competition in this field. So he had applied for 1200 USD to purchase an additional cow for milk and two calves for meat production. The estimated cost for a cow in Azerbaijan 600-800 USD and for a calf is 200-400 USD.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.