Sevda is 50 years old and married with three children. Sevda has bred cattle and cows for the last 10 years. She was a housewife and her husband was unemployed when Sevda decided to purchase her first cow.
Sevda usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months and then sells them for a profitable price in the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is 150 AZN and this business is only one source of financial income in her family. Meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma. Sevda also keeps milk cows for personal use and for selling to neighbors.
She wants to expand her business and improve life conditions of her family. She applied for a 1,000 AZN loan to purchase one head of cattle, one milk cow and fodder.
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.