By Mariana Gómez-Rojas, Associated PressArgentina’s economic woes have forced many of the countrys best restaurants to shut their doors, while the nations top restaurant group is fighting for survival.
In the past year, the Argentine restaurant industry has been battered by the economic crisis, the collapse in tourism and an international trade embargo.
Argentina, the third-largest economy in the world, has been hit hard by the drop in tourist arrivals, and a rise in the price of its currency that has pushed prices higher.
More than half of Argentinaans population lives below the poverty line, and it is estimated that 30 percent of the workforce are on food stamps.
Argentina has been one of the most vulnerable countries in the global food system due to the recession.
Food prices have soared and have forced restaurants to shutter their doors.
In a country where the average daily income is $6,000, many Argentinians are struggling to make ends meet.
“The price of food has risen so high that we have no other choice but to sell,” said Jorge Pazos, the owner of Pazas de Santa Maria, an Argentine restaurant on a quiet street in the northern Buenos Aires suburb of San Miguel.
Pazos said he has been forced to close the restaurant after losing money.
He said the government cut his rent and the number of workers allowed in the restaurant, which was only open for a short period last year.
“I am doing this only to save the family from the pain and hardship we are facing,” he said.
The countrys worst restaurant group, the National Restaurant Group (GPA), is fighting to survive in the midst of the crisis.
The group owns more than 80 restaurants in Argentina, including some of the citys best eateries, including a restaurant that has been in operation since the 1960s and one that opened in 2006.
“It is not just the economic situation that is at stake, but also the existence of our company,” said Julio Bocan, the group’s president.
The National Restaurant group has been fighting for years to save its businesses from closure, because it can’t afford to keep paying workers on wages that are just a few cents per meal.
“We have no choice but that we continue to work in Argentina,” Bocam said.
Argentinian authorities have also cracked down on restaurants that operate outside the country, restricting their operations.
The countrys tourism sector is struggling as a result of the sanctions, with visitors dropping off at a rate of about 5,000 people per day, according to government data.
The government says it wants to boost the economy by reopening restaurants and hiring more workers.
The government says restaurants can’t survive without foreign workers.
It also says foreign workers can’t be forced to work under threat of deportation.