Tamara is a 53-year-old married woman, very hardworking and experienced. She has five children, who are already independent adults. She breeds cows and cattle and sells milk and milk products, as well as cattle for meat purposes to local butchers. Tamara has 26 years of experience in this field, thanks to her father, who taught her the best way to look after cattle.
Tamara usually buys small cattle, raises and fattens them in 5-6 months and resells them for a more profitable price in the local livestock bazaar. Milk and yoghurt she sells to the neighbors. Milk and meat selling brings in an income of 130 AZN per month. Milk and yoghurt, as well as beef, are very popular products in Azerbaijan. People use meat in everyday national dishes, such as pilau and dolma, and always use yoghurt sauce. Milk products are considered to be very healthy and are also present in everyday.
Tamara applied for 2,000 AZN to purchase three cattle, one milking cow and fodder. Tamara has a very positive loan history and has already completed several loans.
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.