Welcome to PLAAS

PLAAS does research, policy engagement, teaching and training about the dynamics of chronic poverty and structural inequality in Southern Africa, with a particular emphasis on the key role of restructuring and contesting land holding and agro-food systems in the subcontinent and beyond. Our focus is on the analysis of marginalised livelihoods in Southern Africa, especially of subsistence and smallholder farmers and farm workers, of coastal and inland artisanal fisheries and fishing communities; and of informal self employment in rural and urban areas.

Research Areas


Our research covers diverse areas, ranging from land and tenure reform,  land investment and agro-food restructuring, fisheries and ecosystem management, to social protection and informal self employment. In all this work, our key focus is on the causes and dynamics of inequality and structural poverty, on the economic and social agency of poor...

Latest Publication

The expansion of South African agrarian capital within Africa

Agrarian change in South Africa over the past two decades has seen consolidation of the hegemony of large-scale commercial farming and corporate agribusiness within agro-food systems. Constrained domestic demand and growth opportunities elsewhere have driven both farming and agribusiness capitals to move into other African countries, attempting...

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Zimbabwe’s recent political turmoil: The end of Mugabe?

Recent events in Zimbabwe have been extraordinary. Indeed, they have also been changing in a dramatic fashion. Like many other Zimbabweans in the diaspora, I have been glued to my computer since the military took control of the country on the 15th of November 2017, in order not to miss any of the unfolding events.