Tahir, 59, is a farmer. He is married and the father of one son. He has been raising seasonal fruits and vegetables for the past thirteen years. He chose this business because it is profitable and because there is always high demand for fresh food. People use fresh vegetables every day and include them in many national dishes, such as pilau and dolma. Fresh fruits are served at every family table in Azerbaijan and are often made into fresh punch. Tahir sells his crops in the Sabirabad central bazaar. His monthly income is 400 AZN. His son actively helps him to raise his crops. Tahir also receives a pension. As his products are in high demand, Tahir wants to expand his business and produce more fruits and vegetables to meet market demand. For this purpose, he has applied for a loan in the amount of 1500 AZN. He will buy seeds and fertilizers with his loan funds. This will be his fifth loan, and he has a positive loan 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.