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

Policy Brief 43: Chisumbanje Ethanol Project

Zimbabwe policy brief 43

Zimbabwe’s fast-track land reform from 2000 onward yielded significant land transfers, but led the country to face debilitating production challenges and lack of investment in agriculture. Since...

Upcoming Events

Class dynamics in contract farming: The case of tobacco production in Mozambique

Presenter: Helena Pérez Niño, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at PLAAS This study examines the class relations emerging in a contract farming scheme in the district of Angónia in north western...


Sharing results, generating impact: experience from Zimbabwe

In this last blog on the SMEAD project, Scoones writes about one of the many exciting things he did when visiting field sites in Zimbabwe at the end of last year, which was to help hand out a new...