Welcome to PLAAS

PLAAS is widely considered to be the leading research body in Southern Africa in relation to issues of land, natural resource management and rural development. It is a university-based research institute established in 1995 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and has an impressive track record of high quality research, teaching, and policy engagement over the past two decades. Its research findings are widely cited, both locally and globally, and its senior researchers have played an influential role in many policy processes in the post-apartheid period. PLAAS offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Land and Agrarian Studies, as well as research-based Masters and PhD degrees, and attracts students from across Africa. Many PLAAS alumni occupy important positions in government, both locally and in neighbouring states. Key to the success of PLAAS is its insistence on independent, rigorous and critical research, which provides a strong evidence base for policy advocacy and informs its teaching programme.

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

Working paper 55: Foreign Investments and Livelihoods in Northern Zambia

How have foreign-based investments affected land-based livelihoods for smallholder farmers in Africa? This article seeks to shift debate from an insular macro-economic perspective to a more diverse livelihoods approach, one that is informed by the day-to-day quotidian concerns of the rural smallholder farmers. The article is informed by a...

Events / News

Land Redistribution Conference, 4-5 Feb 2019

A two-day national conversation on: Resolving the Land Question:  Land redistribution for equitable access to land in South Africa What are the objectives of this event?  • To stimulate informed...

More News

Civil Society Organisations Call for national debate on UN Committee recommendations to S.A Government on social and economic transformation

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Constitution contains a wide range of socio-economic rights. In 2015, expanding and deepening South Africa’s commitment to the realization of socio-economic rights, the South African Government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). On international human rights day...