Hidayat is 44 years old and an IDP (internally displaced person) who lives in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement with his wife and three children. He is a farmer and has raised seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last 10 years. During these years, Hidayat gained enough skills and experience to run the business. He chose farming because it is profitable and fresh fruits and vegetables are in high demand.
People use fresh vegetables everyday and consider them healthy. Many national dishes are made of vegetables, like pilau and dolma. Fresh fruits serve every table in Azerbaijan family and are also used to make fresh punch. He usually sells his crop in the central bazaar. His monthly income is 100 AZN.
As these products are in high demand, Hidayat wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose, he applied for a loan of 1450 AZN. He will buy new garden tools, seed and fertilizer.
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.