Malakhat M. is a 57-year-old woman who has been engaged in poultry and cattle breeding for the last two years. She is a very successful entrepreneur who sells chicken, which brings her a stable income.
Malakhat is married and has three children. She is also working as a teacher in a local school but her salary is about $100, which is very low. Poultry breeding is the main source of income in her family.
She also keeps a cow for milk and milk products for her family. Now she is ready to purchase one more cow to start selling milk. For this purpose, Malakhat applied for a 900 Azerbaijan New Manat (AZN) loan to purchase one dairy cow and some chickens. Milk and milk products are very profitable as they in very high demand in Azerbaijan.
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.