Balakhan is a 55-year-old man, widowed with one son. He breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products, as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. There are about ten head in his herd. Balakhan has 20 years of experience in this field, and the reason that pushed him to start his own business was a very low pension.
Balakhan usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them in 5-6 months, and resells them for a more profitable price in the local livestock bazaar. Milk and yoghurt he sells to the neighbors. Milk and meat-selling brings 170 AZN in income per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as beef and mutton, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma, and always use yoghurt sauce. Milk products are considered as very healthy and are also present in everyday life.
This is the only financial income in his family and is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved son. Balakhan applied for 1,500 AZN to purchase three cattle, two milking cows and fodder. This will be his second loan, and he has a good client history.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded by a group of 32 Imishli farmers in 2001, and has grown to become one of the largest credit unions in Azerbaijan. It boasts a portfolio of nearly $5 million and is wholly owned by its more than 3,500 borrowers, as of December 2011.