Nazaket is a 41-year-old woman. She is married and has four sons. The main source of the family’s income is gardening. She has a small garden and raises there seasonal fruits and vegetables and sells them at a local bazaar. She has been working in this field for nine years and her monthly income is 150 AZN. Nazaket’s husband is a farmer and he helps her in this business.
Gardening is very popular in Azerbaijan because fruits and vegetables are in high demand. People buy them every day and for holidays. They prefer to buy from private gardens because products there are always fresh and tasty.
Nazaket has a big family and her income doesn’t cover demands. She applied for a 1500 AZN loan in order to buy high quality garden tools and fertilizer. This will increase her garden’s yield and her family’s income. She plans to build a big garden and greenhouse for fruit trees and vegetables in the future.
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.