Umudvar is a 55-year-old man who lives in a small village in the Imishli region with his wife and three children. He breeds cattle. He has 15 years of experience in this field. He usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them, and sells the meat for a profitable price in the Imishli livestock bazaar.
Cattle breeding requires a lot of physical activity and spending most of the time in the open air. Pasturing takes 80% of Umudvar`s time. His son also helps him to pasture and feed the animals.
Meat is a very popular product in Azerbaijan and people use it in most everyday dishes. Umudvar can’t serve his current market well because of insufficient numbers of cattle, however he would like to change the situation and purchase more cattle.
His monthly income is 300 AZN. Umudvar applied for a loan of 1,100 AZN to purchase three baby calves.
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.