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

Fisheries and Food Systems: Cross pollinations and synthesis

This special issue explores the importance of small-scale fisheries to food systems and food security at local, regional, and global levels. Fisheries, whether large or small, wild or farmed, commercial, artisanal, subsistence, or otherwise, contribute in multiple important ways to the lives and livelihoods of billions of people world-wide....

Upcoming Events

'Conditional belonging', power and welfare on Zimbabwe’s (former) commercial farms

Presenter: Dr Andrew Hartnack, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation  Scholars have contested the fate and position of Zimbabwean farmworkers and dwellers after the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme....


South Africa's social grants: busting the myth about financial inclusion

“Financial inclusion” has hit the headlines in South Africa in the wake of a scandal over the distribution of social grants.