The establishment of a Regional Association that promotes cooperation and facilitates mutual exchange of information and expertise in the field of rural finance was first proposed at the Regional Seminar on Agricultural Credit for Small Farmers, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the Pacific in October 1974.
Subsequently under the auspices of FAO, rural finance and agricultural credit institutions in the region formally launched APRACA during its first General Assembly Meeting in New Delhi, India, on October 14, 1977, held in conjunction with the third FAO Asian Conference on Agricultural Credit and Cooperatives (October 10-14, 1977 in New Delhi). Its Constitution and By-laws were also adopted during the meeting.
The General Secretariat of APRACA was established at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP) premises in Bangkok, Thailand.
A total of 37 institutions from 16 countries joined the APRACA as founding members – these are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Iran, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Western Samoa and Thailand. The First General Assembly on October 14, 1977 elected Mr. G.V.K. Rao from India and a representative from the Philippines as Chairman and Vice Chairman of APRACA, respectively and appointed Mr. C.Y. Lee, Officer of FAO-RAP, as its first Secretary General.
As of May 2018, a total of 83 institutions in 24 countries in the Region are affiliated with the APRACA as its members.