Yusif is a 45-year-old man and married with three children. He is an IDP (internally displaced person) and lives with his family in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. He breeds cows and cattle and sells milk, milk products as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. He also raises sheep for meat purposes. Yusif has 10 years of experience in this field, thanks to his father, who taught him how to best look after cattle. He receives 120 AZN of financial support from the government monthly, but this is too low to cover family needs.
Yusif usually buys small cattle and then raises and fattens them in 5-6 months and resells them at profit in the local livestock bazaar. He sells milk and yoghurt to the neighbors. Milk and meat sales bring 250 AZN of income per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as beef and mutton, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma and they always use yoghurt sauce. Milk products are considered very healthy and are present in everyday life.
This is the only financial income in his family and not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Yusif has applied for a loan of 1800 AZN to purchase three head of cattle, one milk cow, and fodder. This will be his third loan, 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.