Mukafat is 52 years old, married and the mother of two children. For the last 14 years, she has earned a living by raising fruits and vegetables in her garden. She chose this business because fruits and vegetables are very popular in Azerbaijan, where people like to eat them and make juices out of them while they are still fresh, which is very healthy. Her husband lives on a pension and helps Mukafat sell crops in the central bazaar. Her monthly income is 150 AZN, but raising crops in the open air takes a lot of strength, which is hard for a woman and the reason why her husband helps her. Mukafat is requesting a loan for 1,000 AZN to buy seeds and fertilizer. This will allow her to improve the quality of the products she raises and increase her monthly sales.
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.