Boyukxan is a 50-year-old married man with three children. He is a farmer who has raised seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last 19 years. During these years, Boyukxan gained enough skills and experience to run his business. He chose this crop business because it is profitable and fresh fruits and vegetables are in high demand.
People use fresh vegetables everyday and consider them healthy, and many national dishes are made of vegetable, like pilau and dolma. Fresh fruits grace every table in Azerbaijan, and people also use them to make fresh punch. He usually sells his crop in the central bazaar. His monthly income is 150 AZN.
As these products are in high demand, Boyukxan wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose, he applied for a loan of 2000 AZN. With this money, he will buy new garden tools, seeds 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.