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

Agricultural investment, gender and land in Africa

The last few years have witnessed a dramatically renewed interest in Africa’s farmland, and the role of agricultural development has become more prominent in national and international agendas. As...

Upcoming Events

Land Divided, Land Restored

Land Divided, Land Restored
Join editors Emeritus Prof Ben Cousins and Prof Cherryl Walker in conversation with Prof Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie from the University of the Western Cape's Department of History, as they discuss the...


One Village in Tanzania Shows Locally Managed Development Makes Good Business Sense

Many developing country governments have transferred large swathes of community land to agri-businesses, extractive industries, infrastructure developers and other investors as a way to grow their...