Tahir B. is a 56-year-old farmer who raises seasonal fruits and vegetables in the small village of Sabirabad. He has raised crops since 2005 and all the members of his large family help him. Tahir has three children.
Tahir usually sells crops in the central bazaar or to local traders. He would like to produce a new type of apple for next season and he needs good seeds and fertilizer. That is what he is going to buy with his loan.
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.