Elman is 38 years old and married. He is a farmer who has been raising seasonal fruits and vegetables for the last six years. During these years, Elman has gained the necessary skills and experience to run the business. He chose these crops because they are profitable, and fresh fruits and vegetables are in high demand. People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy. Many national dishes made of vegetables, such as pilau and dolma. Fresh fruits are served on the table of every Azerbaijan family, and they are also used to make fresh punch. He usually sells his crop in the central bazaar. His monthly income is 120 AZN. As these products are in high demand, Elman wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to meet the demand. For this purpose, he has applied for a loan of 1,000 AZN. He will buy new garden tools, seeds and fertilizers. This will be his second loan, and Elman has a good history as a client.
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.