Tahir, 57 years old, is married and has three children. He has been growing fruits and vegetables in his garden for the last 10 years. He is a very experienced farmer and has deep knowledge of the land and how to operate it. Tahir was not able to find a job for several years and then decided to start his own business.
Tahir usually raises seasonal fruits and vegetables and sells them for profitable prices in the central bazaar. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very popular and in high demand because people prefer to eat them every day and consider them very healthy. Also, one of the favorite national dishes is dolma, which is made of fresh eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. Tahir's monthly income from his business is 120 AZN, and it is the only source of income for his family.
Tahir would now like to invest more capital in his business and purchase seeds and fertilizers. He has therefore applied for a loan of 1,500 AZN, which he hopes will improve his family's life. This will be Tahir's third loan and he has good credit 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.