Raya, age 52, has been engaged to farming for 15 years. She acquired her skills in this field when she was very young from working with her parents. Agriculture has become her principal source of income and she dedicates most of her time to the attention and care of her agricultural products, together with her father. She generally sells her crops in the central bazaar. Through her daily work, she looks to give her family security and economic stability.
Her husband is a taxi driver and they help each other to support their family.
Raya has applied for a 1,500 AZN loan in order to improve her products and increase her sales. This will be her second loan from AqroInvest.
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.