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 role of social security in respecting & protecting the dignity of lone mothers in SA

As a subset of the adult population, lone mothers of working age face many challenges which, although faced by others, are thrown in sharp relief as a consequence of the competing societal...

Upcoming Events

Agricultural investment and the land rush

Since 2011, the Pan African Parliament (PAP), in cooperation with the regional parliaments, launched a campaign to raise awareness about large-scale investment in land, entitled  Making Agricultural...


Post-Doctoral Fellowships

PLAAS is offering two one-year Post-doctoral Fellowships commencing in September 2014 for research on innovative approaches for supporting small farmers into commercial markets and value chains in...