Imran is a 47-year-old man, married with two children. He is a farmer and has raised seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last 15 years. During these years he gained enough skills and experience to run the business well. He chose this crop business because it is profitable and because fresh fruits and vegetables are in high demand.
People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy. Many national dishes are made of vegetables, like pilau and dolma. Fresh fruits serve every table in an Azerbaijan family and they are also used to make fresh punch. Imran usually sells his crop in the central bazaar. His monthly income is about 170 AZN.
As these products are in high demand, Imran wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to cover the market demand. For this purpose he applied for 1,500 AZN. He will buy new garden tools, seeds and fertilizers.
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.