R. Akif is a 49-year-old farmer who breeds calves for the meat selling in the small village of Saatli. He has been in the business since 1993. He is married and has three children. It is very hard to keep his family in good conditions selling only meat, and Akif has decided to purchase two cows and start selling dairy products as milk and yoghurt. Dairy products are in very high demand all across Azerbaijan, and Akif believes that it will bring him benefits in the future.
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.