Farida is 49 years old and divorced. She lives with her old mother and brother. Farida has been breeding cattle for the last 10 years. She was a housewife, and now she is on pension.
Farida usually buys small calves, raises them, and fattens them for 5-6 months. She then resells them for a profitable price at the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is 120 AZN, and this business is the only source of income in her family. Meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan, and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma. Farida 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 1,500 AZN loan to purchase two cows, one milking cow, and some fodder. This will be her third loan, and she has good credit 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.