Safura R. is 49 years old. She is married and has two children. Safura works cultivating a small farm, which she has done for six years. She grows different types of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, and carrots.
Every day she gets up very early to work on her land. Safura drives to the produce market in the capital to sell her products, while her sons and husband take care of the daily work on the farm. Safura is very proud of the work she has done together with her beloved sons, and grateful that they have been able to acquire the comforts they have in their home.
They have made good use of their previous loans. Safura is applying for a loan of 1,000 Azerbaijani new manats. The loan will be used to buy fertilizer, seeds and insecticides that they need for their farm.
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.