This paper is intended as an approach to the complex matter of the co-existence of long and short chains. It introduces a stimulus to further study these questions more thoroughly, which current market situations lead us to believe will be an interesting field, and one well worthy of consideration. The potentials and limits of short chain efficiency are analyzed in different contexts, in order to help identify its correct collocation in the search for the best combination of the different ways by which products can be released on the markets, with specific reference to the coexistence of the short and long chain. On this regard, a brief examination is also made of the effects of growing wholesaler power and the possibilities of a relevant control. Amongst other aspects, the paper highlights the fact that the relationship between short and long chain need not always be one of conflict, and refers particularly to the scope of agricultural-industrial districts. Context analysis, and specifically SWOT analysis, has been used to debate two different contexts. Many different situations have been examined and summarized, and amassed into two large context groups: developed and underdeveloped countries. The connections between short chain, self-centred development and protectionism are considered. The need is highlighted, and difficulty evaluated, of construction suitable models simulating alternative agricultural-food market function both on a local and global scale, also with reference to region and international trade growth models based on heterodox rather than orthodox development theories. This involves the need to identify emblematic indicators that are able to provide a summary expression of data and information to be included in these models in order to active them. As such, as set of indicators of the short chain juxtaposed to the long chain, suitable to assessing the social and economic, as well as environmental impacts, is proposed, and its validity discussed. The results of the analyses performed contribute towards evaluating and choosing the most appropriate options for the release of the product, for the different types of agricultural companies in different settings.