Mehrali is a 36-year-old man on pension, married with three children. He is IDP and lives with his family in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. He breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. Mehrali has more than 5 years of experience in this field thanks to his father who taught the best methods for raising cattle.
Mehrali usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them in 5-6 months, and resells them for a higher price in the local livestock bazaar. He sells milk and yoghurt to the neighbors. Selling milk and meat brings in 250 AZN per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as meat, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes such as pilau and dolma and always use yoghurt souse. Dairy products are considered very healthy and are also present in everyday life.
Mehrali is the only worker in his family, and his income is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Mehrali applied for 1200 AZN to purchase one dairy cow and fodder. This will be his third loan from AqroInvest. Mehrali 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.