Nazila is a 55-year-old, married woman, with one daughter. She breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products, as well as cattle to local butchers for meat. Nazila has more than ten years of experience in this field, thanks to her father who taught her well how to look after cattle.
Nazila usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them for five to six months, and resells them for a more profitable price in the local livestock bazaar. Milk and yogurt she sells to the neighbors. Milk and meat-selling brings AZN 150 income per month.
Milk and yogurt, as well as meat, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma and always use yogurt sauce. Milk products are considered to be very healthy and are also present in everyday life.
This is only one financial income. Nazila applied for a loan of AZN 1,000 to purchase 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.