PSA: Pork sufficiency at 7-year high in 2020


DESPITE the devastation of African swine fever (ASF), the country’s pork self-sufficiency rate rose to a seven-year high in 2020 based on government data, prompting hog raisers to question the veracity of the figure released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed the self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) of pork last year improved by 3.9 percentage points to 91 percent from the 87.1 percent recorded in 2019.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), however, said it found “somewhat distorted information” on the pork SSR data released by the PSA.

Historical PSA data showed the country’s pork SSR exceeded 90 percent after seven years. The last time pork SSR breached 90 percent was in 2013, when it hit 91.8 percent.

Industry players, however, said the PSA data does not present a “realistic picture” of the country’s pork supply situation since ASF first unleashed its wrath in local hog farms in 2019.

Leaders of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) and the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NFHFI) questioned the statistical agency’s methodology.

PCAFI President Danilo V. Fausto and NFHFI President Chester Warren Y. Tan are wondering why the PSA’s formula in estimating the country’s SSR does not include the demand for a given commodity.

The PSA’s SSR only compares the share of production of a commodity in relation to the country’s total supply. But the PSA defines SSR as the “magnitude of production in relation to domestic utilization” as it “indicates the extent to which a country relies on its own production resources.”

“The self-sufficiency rate must be benchmarked against the demand for the concerned commodity. The best way to do that is to compare the production volume in comparison to total demand as computed based on per capita consumption,” Fausto told the BusinessMirror.

He said the PSA’s self-sufficiency figure has implications on policy-making and investment as it does not paint an accurate picture of realities on the ground.

Fausto noted that the self-sufficiency last year was even higher than the self-sufficiency level in 2018, when the country saw a record pork output. The country’ pork SSR in 2018 was at 86.1 percent, the lowest level on record, historical PSA data showed.

‘Investors could be misled’

“You’re giving the wrong data. Any prospective investor could be misled. That is the problem when the country does not have a national information data system,” he said.

“Given that PSA figure, it seems that we are better off with ASF since we have a higher sufficiency rate during a crisis.”

The higher pork SSR last year was attributed to lower pork output and lower pork imports, which pulled down the total supply compared to those recorded in previous years.

PSA data showed pork output last year declined to 1.806 million metric tons (MMT), 6.7 percent lower than the 1.936 MMT recorded in 2019. Pork imports, based on PSA data, declined by 37.28 percent year-on-year last year to 179,669 MT.

Citing their own computation, Tan said the country’s pork SSR at present is at least 85 percent today. Tan said pork output is estimated at 1.25 MMT, or 150,000 MT lower than the 1.4-MMT total demand based on a per capita consumption of about 14 kilograms.

Latest PSA data showed the country’s total swine inventory as of October 1 reached 9.866 million heads, 12.45 percent lower than the 11.269 recorded herd in the same a year ago.


In a document sent to the BusinessMirror, the Neda said the formula applied by the PSA would yield “somewhat distorted information” because of lower imports due to the trade slowdown during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the Neda computed the SSR using only local hog production, it found that 2020 marked the country’s lowest SSR for pork in five years at 86.3 percent.

Based on Neda staff estimates, the country’s highest SSR was recorded in 2018 at 96.3 percent then in 2016 at 95.6 percent; 2017, 95.5 percent; and 2019, 93.9 percent.

“The formula provides an estimate of SSR based on local production to indicate the level of imports needed to meet local demand,” the document read.

PSA Assistant National Statistician Vivian R. Ilarina told the BusinessMirror the formula the agency used was recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Ilarina said the PSA had discussions with FAO back in February. It was decided that the PSA will continue to generate the SSR using the FAO formula.

Apart from this, she said the PSA is not keen on changing the formula due to the need for comparability. She said the PSA regularly submits data to FAO and altering Philippine data could lead to problems with comparability.

“We follow the standards followed by countries and we do not change the formula regardless of the current environment,” Ilarina said. “We have already this and maybe we just need more advocacies .”

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