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

Using livelihood analysis to examine rural development in SA's former homelands

This report draws on livelihoods-based analysis, in order to examine rural development, and rural development policy, within South African’s former ‘homeland’ (or ‘bantustan’) communal areas. The report commences by describing the larger context of the former homelands or bantustans, before defining ‘rural development’ and tracing policymakers...

Upcoming Events

Competition, Concentration and Employment in the Food Sector

Joint colloquium by CCRED, the CoE in Food Security and PLAAS Globally, the food system is characterized by increasing concentration and financialization. This is also true for South Africa where...


Colloquium explores challenges facing the South African and African food system

Researchers, activists and students have gathered at the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Competition Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) for a two day colloquium to discuss challenges facing the South African and African food system.