PLAAS's research on farming, agro-food systems and agrarian reform includes farm worker rights, tenure security for farm dwellers, smallholder and emerging farmers, agro-food value chains, food security, and rural development and rural livelihoods. Our ongoing research continues to focus on the key role played by government and official policy, but given the huge role the private sector plays in national, regional and global food systems, we are increasingly linking our work to private sector innovation, corporate-led restructuring.
One important area of work focuses on the increasingly important role of large-scale land investments, often involving powerful multinationals or governments. Another growing area of work focuses on smallholder agriculture in the region. Here we are doing research on a range of issues relating the issues faced by smallholders in relating to corporate value chains, the prospects of partnerships between small farmers and private sector role players, and the connections between agricultural growth and non-farm employment.
We are specifically seeking to engage stakeholders around one project in this area: Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development, so please do get in touch with the project co-ordinator if you're interested in the topic.
Main researchers in this field
- Prof Ben Cousins (key foci on smallholder farming, value chains and market access for smallholder farmers, rural development)
- Associate Prof Ruth Hall (key foci on large scale land deals in Africa and tenure security for farm dwellers)
- Dr Gaynor Paradza (key foci on food system value chains and market access and large scale land deals in Africa)
- Dr Barbara Tapela (key focus smallholder farm irrigation)
- Karin Kleinbooi (key foci on tenure security for farm dwellers, farm worker rights, smallholder farming, large scale land deals in Africa)
- David Neves (key focus on farm and non-farm employment in rural areas)
- Cyriaque Hakizimana (key focus on rural unemployment/employment)