An increasing number of the 600 million African smallholders are becoming integrated into the supply chains of supermarkets, fast food chains, and exporters. This process gradually transforms the smallholders into profit-oriented businesses that can make important contributions to rural development and food security. This article brings this issue to the attention of the readership of the Journal of African Business. It connects distinct lines of literature on smallholders, business training, and customer value creation. More specifically, it argues that to equip smallholders with the understanding of how markets function and what customers value, trainings that address fundamental marketing concepts are required. The arguments are captured in a conceptual framework explaining the livelihood performance of rural African smallholders. Based on these arguments, the article formulates implications for development workers and suggests directions for African business research.
- customer value creation