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A favourable climate and pristine nature go a long way to develop poultry farms in Azerbaijan’s north-western Shamkir region. The economy of Shamkir is based on chickens, along with other livestock and silkworms. Chickens are bred, not just by vast commercial plants, but also by smaller-scale private farms—very much needed to meet growing demand for poultry meat and eggs. For more than two decades, Mubariz Kazimov managed to work both at a factory and on his farm in Shamkir. Looking back, he recalls the moment when he decided to start his own business and how a EU4Business-supported project helped him.

From employee to owner

One method of raising chickens is artificial, using incubators. Like many commercial chicken farmers, Kazimov prefers using an incubator because it saves him money. The farmer not only receives extra earnings, but also provides his family with environmentally-friendly food.

Kazimov began poultry farming back in the 1990s. He worked for 10 years at a state poultry plant as an incubator operator. Soon he saw that poultry farming was a good business with a quick return on investment and strong cashflow. That experience allowed him to start his own business in 2000. Now he owns an incubator for his chicken breeding facility.

Financing and increasing income

Kazimov received a loan via the Azerbaijan Agricultural Finance Facility (AZAFF) project implemented by the EBRD under the EU4Business Initiative, which allowed his business to flourish. His annual income grew to 35,000 manats or €19,000. Earnings differ from month to month. 40-50 thousand eggs are laid in incubator per month. About 75 per cent of them hatch and then go to sale. 

“My friend works at the Shamkir branch of Bank Respublika,” says Kazimov. “He told me about the project. He said that I could check out the requirements and apply for a loan. I realized that it was profitable and so I applied."

According to Kazimov, even the pandemic did not affect the work of his chicken farm. While most enterprises closed due to quarantine, his enterprise continued to work and prosper.

During the first stage of financing through the project, Kazimov received 5,000 manats or €2,700 through Bank Respublika, which operates as an intermediary providing grants under the AZAFF programme. Then he received additional funding, for a total of some 50,000 manats or €27,000. Today, he’s in the process of repaying all these loans.

The Azerbaijan Agricultural Finance Facility is funded by the European Union as part of its EU4Business Initiative. The programme is carried out by the EBRD with the budget of around €2 million. It is designed to provide technical assistance services for partner financial institutions and farmers.

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