Garatel is a 52-year-old woman on a pension. She is married and has a son and a daughter. Her main source of income is agriculture (gardening). Garatel grows fruit trees (pear, peach, apple, pomegranate, cherry and so on) and sells the fruit at the local bazaar. She has skills from 30 years in gardening and gets 150 AZN for work.
In Azerbaijan, the people's demand for fruit is very high. Throughout the whole year, they buy fruits for everyday use. They eat fruits fresh or prepare different tasty and sweet things.
This is the first loan borrowed by Garatel and it is for 1300AZN. Unfortunately, Garatel’s income from gardening and her pension isn’t enough to cover life's demands. That’s why she needs more money. Garatel plans to use her profits to provide for her children’s education and improve the family maintenance.
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.