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Smallholder-Based Oil Palm and Rubber Production in the Forest Region of Guinea: An Exploratory Analysis of Household Food Security Outcomes

The Guinean government has promoted the large-scale production of industrial crops such as oil palm and rubber through the Guinean Oil Palm and Rubber Company (SOGUIPAH). Smallholder-based production of these crops has also been promoted to boost rural development but the food security outcomes are unclear. This exploratory study assesses the food security outcomes of smallholder-based oil palm and rubber production at the household level using six standardized metrics of food security. We compare households involved in industrial crop production and households that only grow food crops under subsistence conditions through statistical tools such as Propensity Score Matching (PSM) and Endogenous Treatment Effect Regression (ETER). Overall, results suggest that oil palm and rubber smallholders perform better than subsistence farmers on metrics that capture perceptions of hunger and coping behaviors but perform worse for food diversity metrics. We hypothesize that this discrepancy can possibly be explained by the strong sense of security that steady income provides across time, which outweighs the shortcomings of diet diversity. The results of this exploratory study can inform the development of more detailed assessments of the food security outcomes of interventions implemented by SOGUIPAH in the area (and the mechanism through which these impacts emerge).

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