Mahammadali is a 51-year-old man on a pension, married with four children. He is an internally displaced person (IDP) and lives with his family on the Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. He breeds cattle and sells milk and milk products as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. Mahammadali has more than 20 years of experience in this field, thanks to his father who taught him how best to look after cattle. He receives a pension from the government each month, but this is too low to cover the family's needs.
Mahammadali usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months and resells them for a profit in the local livestock bazaar. Milk and yoghurt he sells to the neighbors. Milk and meat-selling brings an income of 180 AZN per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as meat, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes as pilau and dolma and always use yoghurt sauce. Milk products are considered very healthy and are also present in everyday life.
This is only one income in his family and it is not enough to cover basic needs of his beloved children. Mahammadali applied for 1000 AZN to purchase one cow and one milk cow. This will be his second loan from AqroInvest and Mahammadali 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.