A. Qarash is 26-yers-old young man who runs his business consisting of raising sheep. Qarash lives with his wife and two sons in the southern part of Azerbaijan, Bilasuvar region. He is internally displaced person from occupied Jabrail region who fled to Bilasuvar during the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict in 1993. He started his business in 2002 and for the first loan he borrowed from his friends he purchase two baby sheep. As they raised he paid back the debts and to the rest of money he purchased more animals. Currently Qarash has a herd of ten sheep. The mutton is in very high demand in Azerbaijan. Most of traditional meals consist of mutton. As Qarash children grow up and prices are getting higher every year, the only one income is not enough to feed enough and cover family needs in the normal level. Nevember and December are high season months for weddings in Azerbaijan and meat at this are in high demand. Qarash decided to expand his business and increase number of sheep to 10. The estimated cost for one sheep is 60 USD the reast 200 USD he will spend on fodder. For this purpose he applied for 800 USD with repayment term 15 month.
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.