Rafayil is only 23 years old, but already has 10 years of experience in cattle breeding. From a very young age, he helped his father look after their herd of cattle by taking them out to pasture and making sure that they were fed. Now he has his own herd and earns an income of 300 AZN a month. He would like to expand his business so that he can one day build his own house. To make that possible, he is applying for a loan for 1,100 AZN to buy three new cows and fodder for them to eat.
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.