Nigar K., age 42, is engaged in vegetable farming, a traditional occupation for many people living in the southern part of Azerbaijan. She and her husband have two children. She chose to enter this kind of work because neither she nor her husband have been able to find steady employment, so they decided to make use of the fairly large amount of land surrounding their house. In this way, they manage to support the family.
Nigar has garnered a good amount of experience growing and selling produce, and she wants to grow more vegebles so as to generate more income for her family. She is requesting a loan to buy mineral fertilizer and seeds so she can expand her business.
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.