TWO mini fresh food and craft markets are planned by Kouga Municipality for Hankey and Jeffreys Bay to help boost the local agricultural and arts and crafts economies in the area. The municipality is in the process of appointing a professional service provider to do architectural designs for the two envisaged trading sides.The projects will be financed through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), with a budget of R1,4 million having been approved for this financial year to carry out the work.The process to appoint contractors for the construction of the markets will only commence once all the plans have been approved and the affected sectors have been engaged.Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said establishing fresh produce markets for farmers would boost local food security by promoting and supporting food production in the region.“The continued success of farming in the Kouga area requires us to help improve aspects that will assist producers in raising awareness about their operations and products. We also want to make it easier for consumers to find and purchase locally-produced products,” he said.The Mayor said this was also true for those working in the arts and crafts industry.“These small business centres will allow for crafters to exhibit their products better and to display their work skills in front of potential clients.“All of this is aimed at creating an inclusive economic environment,” he said. “The two towns have been identified as central areas of economic activity for both the Gamtoos Valley and the coastal area.”Hendricks said the idea of creating the mini markets was prompted by consultations the municipality had with the local agricultural sector, including emerging farmers, and those who trade in arts and crafts. “The project is still at an infancy stage. We will be consulting with the affected sectors on a regular basis as the initiative moves forward,” he said.