Rafiq is a 55-year-old married man with three children. He has been engaged in cattle breeding for the past six years. During these years, he gained the necessary skills and knowledge for effective management of his business. He usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months, and then resells them for a profitable price in the livestock bazaar. He also makes homemade yoghurt and sells it, together with fresh milk, to his neighbors. His monthly income is 144 AZN. This business is the only source of financial income in his family. Beef is in very high demand in Azerbaijan, and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma.
Now Rafiq would like to buy more animals. For this purpose, he applied for a loan of 2,000 AZN. He will buy three calves and one milking cow. This will be his third loan with AqroInvest and he has a 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.