Miralakbar is a 49-year-old man on a pension, married with one son. He breeds cows and steers and sells milk and milk products as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. Miralakbar has 10 years of experience in this field, thank to his father who taught him best how to look after cattle.
Miralakbar usually buys calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months and resells them for a more profitable price from his house. Milk and yoghurt are sold to the neighbors. Milk and meat selling brings in 150 AZN in income per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as meat are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes as 'pilau' and 'dolma' and always use yoghurt in sauces. Milk products are considered very healthy and also always present in everyday life.
This is only one financial income in his family and it is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved son. Miralakbar applied for 1000 AZN to purchase one milk cow and fodder. This will be his third loan from AqroInvest and Miralakbar 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.