Shakil H. is a 45-year-old man who breeds sheep in the small village of Saatli city. He started in this business at a very young age and now he has a lot of permanent customers who always buy good sheep for meat production from Shakil.
Mutton is very popular among Azerbaijani people and sheep breeding brings stable income to Shakil. He is single and lives with his parents. Shakil believes one day he could marry, and, for this purpose, he works very hard.
He has applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN to purchase more sheep and fodder. As summer is a high season for wedding parties where barbequed mutton is very popular, Shakil hopes to fatten as many sheep as possible by June.
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.