Zaur is a 36-year-old man, married and has three sons. He is a farmer and has been raising seasonal fruit and vegetables for the last seven years. He chose this business because it is profitable and his fresh crop is in high demand. His primary crop is pomegranates, which are considered by Azerbaijani people as very healthy, especially fresh pomegranate juice. People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy; many national dishes are made of vegetable, like 'pilau' and 'dolma'. Fresh fruit is served on every table in the Azerbaijan family and also made into fresh punch.
Zaur sells his crops in the bazaar. His monthly income is 90 AZN. His wife actively helps him to raise their crops. As thes products are in high demand, Zaur wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose he applied for 1000 AZN. He will buy 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.