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

Local food geographies: The nature and extent of food insecurity in South Africa

Working Paper 37

Food insecurity is a challenge for most countries in the Global South. South Africa is no exception - a significant proportion of its population still remains in poverty and is therefore...

Upcoming Events

World Nutrition Cape Town 2016

World Nutrition Cape Town 2016, the 2nd edition of the World Public Health Nutrition Association’s World Nutrition Congress, is co-hosted by the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South...


EFF ‘gaan nie vir grond betaal nie’

This is a brief report of a debate between Prof Ben Cousins (PLAAS) and Mr Lububalo Ntsholo of the EFF that was held at UWC last week. Ntsholo was clear that that the land was stolen from people...