Kazim is a 58-year-old married man with four children. He is a farmer and has been raising wheat and corn for the last eight years, since he is on a pension. He chose this business because it is profitable and fresh crops are in high demand. Raising wheat and corn takes a lot of effort and water.
These products are very expensive. People use fresh wheat for making flour, and corn as a fresh and very healthy vegetable. Azerbaijani people boil it for hours and eat it with salt.
Kazim sells his crops in the central bazaar. His monthly income is 300 AZN. His son actively helps him to raise the crops.
As these products are in high demand, Kazim wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose, he applied for 1,500 AZN. He will buy new garden tools and special organic 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.