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

Institutions and Co-Management in East African Inland and Malawi Fisheries

Institutions matter within natural resource management. While there are many examples of analyses of the nature and influence of institutions within fisheries, there are fewer examples of how...

Upcoming Events

Rural Transformations and Food Systems - The BRICS and Agrarian Change in the Global South

The BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) is collaborating with several initiatives and institutions to hold an international conference with an African focus, with emphasis on...



The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) invites applications for the Masters (Full Thesis) in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies scholarships for 2015.

PLAAS is...