Khanish K. is 58 years old and the father of three children. His wife is a housekeeper. In order to earn a living, Khanish owns a field for growing watermelon, grapes, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. His monthly income is about 300-400 AZN.
On his farm, Khanish cannot do any planting because he does not have enough money for seeds and fertilizer. In order to purchase these items, he decided to ask for a loan of 500 AZN. Khanish counts on this planting opportunity to obtain a better yield, which will help him improve the living conditions of his family. He hopes one day to build his own shop next to his house and sell his harvest there.
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.