STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

THE Balearic government is setting up a website where regional businesses can promote and sell their produce, Innovation Minister Pilar Costa said yesterday.

Francesca Vives, regional Minister for Commerce explained that the move aims to encourage traders to use information and communications technology (TIC) to boost business in the Balearic Islands.

Vives claimed that the use of TIC by businesses in the islands could make the difference between success and failure.
Both Ministers said that the website could be used for selling any local produce and would be available before the launch of this year's pre-Christmas promotion.

After research carried out amongst 988 companies of the 24'259 which exist in the Balearics, the government said that a principal finding was that the number of small to medium-sized traders which used the internet for selling was 5 percent below the national average. The study also showed that those traders who belonged to a business association were more familiar with internet use than those who were not affiliated.

It also revealed that although nearly half the traders interviewed had corporate websites, two out of every three of them hardly every updated the page. A catalogue of options has been created for traders who want to use TIC to boost their businesses, suggesting areas of trade that could prove profitable. Meanwhile, locally-manufactured Balearic products are becoming more popular with the public as years go by, partly thanks to the backing of supermarkets such as Eroski.

Last year, 70 million euros worth of regional products were sold at Eroski's 111 outlets in the islands. Nearly 13 percent of all sales by the supermarket last year were regionally manufactured, and to these figures have to be added the exports of Balearic goods to the mainland.

Farmers and fishermen are dependent on the supermarket chains to find a market for their livestock and catches. Minorcan cheese producers sold 306 tonnes through Eroski last year.

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