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

Large Scale Land Deals in Southern Africa

This book presents case studies of large-scale land deals in Southern Africa. It aims to provide an accessible and vivid window into the lived realities and responses of rural people who are...

Upcoming Events

Action-dialogue on communal area agriculture

In cooperation with PLAAS, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, the Donald Woods Foundation is facilitating a consultation at the Hobeni...


Prospects for inclusive rural growth?

In this article, David Neves, Senior Researcher at Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) shares key findings and policy recommendations from DEGRP project, Space, markets and...