Namiq is a 30-year-old man who is married and has two daughters. He is an IDP (internally displaced person) and lives with his family in the Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. He breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. Namiq has six years of experience in this field thanks to his father, who taught him the best ways to look after cattle. He receives 60 AZN financial support from the government monthly, but this is too low to cover family needs.
Namiq usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them for five to six months, and then resells them at a profit in the local livestock bazaar. He sells milk and yogurt to his neighbors. Milk and meat selling brings in 150 AZN income per month. Milk and yogurt, as well as meat, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma, and always use yogurt sauce. Milk products are considered very healthy and are also present in everyday life.
This is his family's only source of income and is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Namiq applied for a 2200 AZN loan to purchase three cattle and two milking cows.
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.