Nizami is 46 years old and married with four children. He breeds cattle and sells them for meat to local butchers right from his home. Nizami has more than 10 years of experience in this field thanks to his father who taught him best how to raise cattle.
Nizami usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them in five to six months and resells them for profit at the local livestock bazaar. Meat-selling brings him a 200 AZN income per month. People use beef in everyday national dishes as pilau and dolma and always use yogurt sauce.
This is only one income source for his family and it is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Nizami applied for a 1500 AZN loan to purchase four head of cattle.
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.