Elshad Q. is 35-year-old farmer who owns a sheep herd and lives with his three children and wife in small Otuziki village in the southern part of Azerbaijan, in the Saatli region. Elshad has seven years of experience in sheep breeding and mutton selling to the local and capital traders. Elhsad`s business going very well because mutton is in high demand all across Azerbaijan and people eat fresh meat at home and cafes. Elshad decided to expand his business and purchase one milk cow and seven sheep. The estimated cost for cow is $700-800 USD and for one sheep is $60-70 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.