Ilham Z. is a 42-year-old farmer who grows seasonal fruits in his own garden. He has been engaged in this business since 2005 and now his crops bring him 300 AZN a month. He grows apples, peaches, pears, pomegranates and other fruit. Ilham is married and has four children. He wishes to provide them with a bright future. For this purpose, he applied for 1000 AZN. He will use this loan to purchase new tools, improve his irrigation system and plant new varieties of fruit.
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.