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

Space, Markets and Employment in South Africa's Agricultural Development

Research Report 47

There is currently little evidence of a positive relationship between agriculture, agricultural development and employment or poverty outcomes in South Africa. On the contrary, the general...

Upcoming Events

Chiefs in South Africa and Ghana: Comparative perspectives

Issues around chiefly power in modern African society are highly relevant in contemporary political economy debates about state policies that bolster the power of chiefs and other unelected...


Govt needs to do more to assert small-scale fishermen's rights

Associate Professor Moenieba Isaacs from the Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies addressed the issue of small-scale fisheries and crime in South Africa's fishing industry.