Qahraman is a 30-year-old man, an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) who lives in Bilasuvar IDP Settlement with his wife and two children. He is a farmer and has raised seasonal fruit and vegetables for the last 5 years. During these years Qahraman gained enough skills and experience to run the business. He chose this crop business because it is profitable and fresh fruit and vegetables are in high demand.
People use fresh vegetables every day and consider them healthy; many national dishes made of vegetables, like "pilau" and "dolma". Fresh fruits are served on every table in Azerbaijan and also used to make fresh punch. Qahraman raises pears, apples, peaches, plums, pomegranates, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrot and potatoes. He usually sells his crop in the central bazaar. His monthly income is 240 AZN.
As these products are in high demand, Qahraman wants to expand his business and produce more fruit and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose he applied for 1500 AZN. He will buy new garden tools, seeds and fertilizers.
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.