The cooperative movement in the erstwhile Travancore and Cochin states which are the parts in the prsent state of Kerala, originated as a result of initiative taken by Sir.P.Rajagopalachari, the then Diwaan of the pricely state of Travancore.According to his direction and suggestions a model bill was introduced before the legslative couciland the first cooperative societies act was passed on 3.3.1914. Subsequently sir.C.Govinda Pillai, a government servent was deputed to madras to study the pattern and administration of cooperative societies there. He was posted as the first Registrar of Cooperative societies in the Travancore.
The first cooperative bank viz.The Trivandrum Central Cooperative Bank was organised on 23.11.1915. This bank acted as the financing agency for primary societies in the state. For the proper and effective supervision and guidence of the primary societies, supervising unions were setup under the auspicius of central cooperative bank. In certain places the function of supervising unions are entrusted with taluk banks and such taluk banks were designated as taluk unions.In travancore three such unions were functioning. It was felt that a central union to coordinate the functions of the taluk unions was necessary and accordingly the travancore cooperative institutewas set up during 1924-25. The travancore goverment appointed sir. Dhevdhari, a well known cooperator in pune in 1935 for submitting proposal for the reorganization of the entire cooperative sector in the state. Sri. Dhevdhari stressed the need and necessity of cooperative education and training in kerala for the healthy progress of the movement in the state.
consequently T.C.Institute was formed during 1952 by amalgamating the Travancore Cooperative Institute and Cochin Cooperative Institute. After the formation of Kerala State with effect from1.11.1956, for the purpose of coordinating the functioning of coopertive education and training programme in the state, kerala state cooperative institute ltd was formed, as a cooperative society registered by the RCS, Kerala. At the same time the Malabar Cooperative Regional Institute was functioning in the Malabar area for promoting cooperative education in the malabar region.
By virtue of the principal act viz. kerala cooperative societies act 1969 (Act 21 of 1969) the kerala state cooperative union was established under section 89 of the said act by special notification of the government of kerala. The union came into existence with effect from the 21st november 1970.
Unlike other state cooperative unions, the kerala state cooperative union is a statutory body established by the government of kerala.The kerala state cooperative union had the distinct advantage of the leadership and guidence provided by eminent leaders like sri.K.R.Elankath, prof.Joseph Mundassery, sri.V.R.Krishnan Ezhuthachan etc. This has helped the union in steamlining its activities for systematic development of cooperatives in the state.