Rafiq is a 49-year-old cattle breeder who has 10 years of experience. He breeds cattle and cows for meat and milk purposes. Rafiq is an IDP (internally displaced person) and lives with his wife and one daughter in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. Rafiq’s income consists of milk and yogurt sale as well as meat production. He usually buys calves, raises and fattens them, and then sells them for a profitable price in the central livestock bazaar. His brother helps him to run the business. His monthly profit is 250 Azerbaijan New Manats (AZN) and he would like to increase it. For this purpose he applied for a loan of 1000 AZN to purchase one milk cow and one calf.
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.