Zergelan A. is 49-year-old married woman who lives with her husband and three children in Otuziki village in the southern part of Azerbaijan, Imihsli town. Zergelan has 6 years of experience in animal breeding; she has two calves and one buffalo. She buys baby calves, feeds them and raises them for meat. Meat is in very high demand and people use it for their meals almost every day. Zergelan now wants to expand her business and would like to start selling milk and yogurt. She is therefore requesting a loan of 1200 USD to purchase one milky cow for 800 USD, a calf for 250 USD and cattle fodder for the autumn season. The estimated cost for a cow in Azerbaijan is 600-800 USD depending on how many liters of milk it can produce; and a calf is 200-400 USD, depending on how many kilograms it weighs.
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.