Elkhan is a 53-year-old man who lives with his wife and three children. He is a cattle breeder and has five years of experience in this field. Elkhan chose this particular activity because meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and most of the national dishes like dolma and pilau are made of meat. Also Elkhan keeps cows for milk and yoghurt sales.
Elkhan usually buys small calves in the central bazaar, fattens and raises them for 5-6 months. Then, he resells the grown cattle at a more profitable price to market vendors and butchers. His wife helps to look after the animals and feed them.
Demand for fresh meat and milk products is very high, and Elkhan would like to meet the demand of his permanent clients. For this purpose, he applied for a 1350 Azerbaijani manat loan. He will use the loan to buy one cow and two calves.
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.