Ramin is 32 years old and married with three children. Ramin has been breeding sheep for the past ten years. His pension was too small to cover the needs of his family and he decided to start his business. With the help of his wife, they purchased their first sheep.
Ramin usually buys lambs, raises and fattens them for 3-5 months and then resells them at a more profitable price in the livestock bazaar. His monthly income is 120 AZN and this business is only one source of financial income in his family. Meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma.
Ramin wants to expand his business and improve the living conditions of his family. He applied for a 2,000 AZN loan in order to purchase 20 sheep and fodder (feed). This will be the fourth loan from AqroInvest CU and he 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.