Gulbaniz, a 46-year-old single woman, lives with and assists her elderly parents. For the past year she has been breeding cows, earning a monthly income of 200AZN.
Animal husbandry is widespread in Azerbaijan because there is a high demand for milk and meat. Gulbaniz fattens cows and then sells them for a profit. Additionally, she makes dairy products from the milk and sells them too. Local people buy from Gulbaniz everyday because the products she sells are always fresh and tasty.
Gulbaniz needs additional income to cover her family's needs, which include medicines. She therefore wants to expand her business and build a farm where she can breed not only cows but also bulls, sheep and chickens. Gulbaniz is requesting this 1200AZN loan in order to buy two additional cows and increase productivity. This will help her reach her goal of better assisting her parents.
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.