Elman is 55 years old and married with two children. He is an internally displaced person who lives with his family in the Bilasuvar IDP settlement. He breeds cattle and sells milk and milk products along with cattle to be butchered for meat. Elman also raises sheep. He has more than 10 years of experience in this field and his father taught him how to best look after livestock. He receives 80 AZN in monthly support from the government, but this is too low to cover his family's needs.
Elman usually buys small cattle to raise and fatten over five or six months and then resell for a profit at the local livestock bazaar. He also sells milk and yogurt to his neighbors. These activities bring him 340 AZN monthly as his products are very popular in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma, and they always use yogurt sauce. Milk products are considered very healthy and are present in everyday life.
Elman is requesting an 1,100 AZN loan to purchase one calf, one milk cow, and fodder. He lacks the income to meet the basic needs of his beloved children. This will be his third loan from AqroInvest and he has 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.