Ali is a 50-year-old man on pension. He is an IDP (internally displaced person) who lives in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement with his wife and son. He is a farmer who has raised seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last 10 years. He chose this business because it is profitable, and fresh crops are often in high demand. People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy. Many national dishes such as pilau and dolma are made of vegetables. Fresh fruits serve every table in Azerbaijan and are also used to make fresh punch.
Ali sells his crop in the Bilasuvar central bazaar. His monthly income is 230 AZN. His wife actively helps him to raise the crops. As his products are in high demand, Ali wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to be able to meet the demand. For this purpose he applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN. He will buy new garden tools, seeds, and fertilizers.
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.