Hokume is fifty-four years old married woman with six children. Hokume has bred cattle and cows for the last ten years. Her husband is builder of houses, and his work is not permanent, hence his earnings are not enough to maintain the family.
Hokume usually buys small calves, raises and fattens them for 5-6 months and then resells them for more profitable price in the livestock bazaar. Her monthly income is 100 AZN; this business is only one of the sources of income for her family. Meat is in very high demand in Azerbaijan and people use it in everyday dishes like pilau and dolma.
She wants to expand her business and improve the living conditions of her family. She has applied for a 1,200 AZN loan to purchase a calf and a milker cow. This will be her second loan and she has a positive credit history.
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.