Sadaqat is a 61-year-old man, on pension. He is married, with three children. He breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products, as well as cattle to local butchers, for meat. Sadaqat has 25 years of experience in this field, thanks to his father who taught him well how to look after cattle.
Sadaqat usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them in five to six months, and resells them for a more profitable price in the local livestock bazaar. Milk and yogurt he sells to the neighbors. Milk and meat-selling brings AZN 100 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 also present in everyday life.
This is the only financial income in his family and it is not enough to cover the basic needs of his beloved children. Sadaqat applied for a loan of AZN 1,100 to purchase one milk cow and two cattle. He is a trustworthy client and this will be his fourth loan.
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.