Rasif is 41 years old, a married man with five children. He breeds cattle and sells them for meat purposes to local butchers. Rasif has 10 years of experience in this field, thanks to his father who taught him the best way to look after cattle. Hard life conditions and unemployment pushed him to start his own business.
Rasif usually buys calves and raises and fattens them over five to six months. Then he resells them for a profit at the local livestock bazaar. Meat selling brings him 500 AZN in income per month. People use beef in everyday national dishes as 'pilau' and 'dolma' and always use yogurt sauce.
This is the only income in Rasif's family and not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Rasif applied for a loan of 2000 AZN to purchase three baby calves, one cow and fodder. This will be his third loan and Rasif has a very positive 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.