Maftuna is a 29-year-old woman, an internally displaced person (IDP) who lives in the Bilasuvar IDP Settlement with her husband and two children. She is a farmer and has raised seasonal fruit and vegetables for the last 8 years. She chose this business because it is profitable and because fresh crops are in high demand. People use fresh vegetables everyday and consider them health. Many national dishes are made of vegetables, such as pilau and dolma. Fresh fruit is served at every table in Azerbaijan families and is also used to make fresh punch.
Maftuna sells her crop in the central bazaar. Her monthly income is 110 AZN. Her husband is a builder, buy doesn’t have a permanent job. He actively helps her to raise crops.
As these products are in high demand, Maftuna wants to expand her business and produce more fruit and vegetables to cover market demand. For this purpose she applied for a loan of 1000 AZN. She will buy new garden tools, seeds and fertilizer. This will be her second loan 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.