Sedef is 54 years old. She is married and the mother of six beautiful children. Sedef and her husband are engaged in their own business in order to have the income to meet their family's needs. She has been engaged in cattle breeding for the past 13 years. During these years, she gained the necessary skills and knowledge for the effective management of her business.
She usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months, and then resells them for a profitable price in the livestock bazaar. She also makes homemade yogurt and sells it, together with fresh milk, to her neighbors. Her monthly income is about 144 AZN. This business is the only source of financial income in her family. Beef is in very high demand in Azerbaijan, as people use it in everyday dishes like pilau (a rice dish) and dolma (stuffed grape leaves).
Now Sedef would like to buy more animals. For this purpose, she applied for a loan of 1,800 AZN. She will buy three calves and one milk cow. This will be her fourth loan with AqroInvest, and she has a positive client 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.