Shakir, 54, is married and lives with his wife and three children in a small city. He is a farmer who grows and sells fruits and vegetables from his garden. He has more than 30 years of experience in crop raising and is thus very experienced in this sphere.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a most popular product and in high demand in Azerbaijan. People use them to make fresh juice, which is good for the health, as well as in national dishes like pilau and dolma. Shakir's father and wife help him to irrigate the plants and land and to run the business. His monthly profit is 320 Azerbaijani Manat (AZN).
Shakir has applied for a loan of 1500 AZN to purchase seeds and fertilizers. This will be his third loan with AqroInvest and he has a good client history.
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.