The commercialization of smallholder agriculture has been considered a key strategy for sustainably reducing poverty and for achieving equitable growth in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The level of success of the strategy in different countries in the region has however been varied with some countries exhibiting far greater success than others. The key underlying factors influencing success and failure of the commercialization process all point towards the need for strong public and private policies and initiatives to support improvished smallholder farmers in the agricultural commercialization process. In addition, in order for farmers to fully benefit from both public and private investments in agricultural commercialization, there is need for the development of new market models that will ensure that smallholder producers who are disadvantaged by pre-existing social, economic, environmental and political conditions are included in high value commercial markets, without jeopardizing their food security and livelihoods. Key words: agricultural commercialization, Sub-Saharan Africa, systematic review, smallholder farmers.