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

Biofuels Investment and Community Land Tenure in Tanzania

FAC Working Paper 73

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania has experienced a surge in land-based investment during the past decade. While expanding private investment in agriculture is a core ambition of the G8’s...

Upcoming Events

The Government of Poverty and the Arts of Survival

Presenters: Prof Andries du Toit and David Neves, PLAAS This paper is concerned with marginal populations affected by the ‘truncated agrarian transitions’ of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries...


Land-reform policy 'not thought through'

The government may have to set aside hundreds of billions of rand to realise its latest land reform proposal of ceding 50% of all commercial farms to workers.

The extent of the funding that...