Sakina is 50 years old and married with three children. She is an IDP (internally displaced person) and lives in the Bilasuvar IDP Settlement. Sakina has been breeding sheep and cows for the last five years. When she retired, she was left without her daily bread, as her pension is only 60 AZN. She decided to start her business and with the help of her father, who was breeding animals for his entire life, they purchased their first cattle.
Sakina usually buys lambs, raises and fattens them for 3-5 months, and then resells them for a more profitable price in the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is 250 AZN and this business is only one source of financial income in her family. Mutton is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma. Sakina also keeps milking cows for personal use and for selling to neighbors.
She wants to expand her business and improve the living conditions of her family. She applied for a 1,200 AZN loan to purchase five sheep, one milking cow and fodder. This will be her second loan from AqroInvest CU and she has a good client history.
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.