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

Value chains, livelihoods and food security in South Africa’s large- and small-scale fisheries

Working Paper 42

This paper seeks to assess the state of knowledge in relation to the interrelated subjects of value chains, livelihoods, food systems, and regulatory dynamics in South Africa’s large- and small-...

Upcoming Events

Agro-extractivism inside and outside BRICS

The rise of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as new hubs of global capital and their extension into their respective regions and the world as a whole have presented an...


Land reform – the solution to rural poverty?

Land grabbing over nearly 350 years of South African history saw the loss of key productive resources by indigenous populations and erosion of their rights to land and natural resources. Women’s...