Expanding urban markets provide enhanced income and employment opportunities for actors along food supply chains, including through greater demand for more nutritious foods like fish, meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, as these food items tend to have higher economic value and greater requirements for cooled storage and transportation, packaging, and processing than most staple crops like grains and pulses. The two reports detail the linkages that should be strengthened across the broader rural-urban continuum and across the food system (see Figure 1).

The quiet revolution in food value chains

In many developing countries, these vital linkages are already strengthening. A “quiet revolution” is affecting staple food value chains. Growing use of modern inputs, information and communications technologies and expanding midstream sections of the value chain all figure in this transformation. For example, farmers are more likely to adopt new technologies, such as improved seeds, when transport costs to major urban markets are low since it eases their access to markets and increases pay-off from adopting new technologies.