Sahib is a 48-year-old man and married; he has two daughters. He is a farmer and has been raising seasonal fruit and vegetables for the last 10 years. His primary crop is pomegranates, which are very popular fresh and in juice. He chose this business because it is profitable and the fresh crop is 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 fruit is served on every table in an Azerbaijan family and also used to make fresh punch.
Sahib sells his crops in the bazaar. His monthly income is 160 AZN. His wife actively helps him to raise their crops. As these products are in high demand, Sahib wants to expand his business and produce more fruit and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose he applied for 1000 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.