• Supply chains;
  • wholesale markets;
  • supermarkets;
  • smallholders;
  • Colombia

Global value chains are potential links between smallholder farmers in developing countries and lucrative markets in industrialised nations. However, food access for poor consumers in Third World cities depends largely on traditional domestic supply chains. This article focuses on the market for perishables in Colombia, which is dominated by peasant farming and ranching, wholesale (spot) markets, and small, family-run corner stores and butchers. Here, evidence suggests that, despite characterisation of traditional supply chains as inefficient, they provide critical outlets for smallholders' heterogeneous production while simultaneously ensuring availability of cheap food for poor urban consumers.