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Dr Farai Mtero

Senior Researcher

farai mtero


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Dr Farai Mtero obtained a PhD at PLAAS, University of the Western Cape and specialised in land and agrarian studies. His work uses political economy theory and analysis to understand processes of agrarian change in contemporary societies. Before joining PLAAS as a Senior Researcher, Dr Mtero was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand. At SWOP, he was part of the Mining and Rural Transformation in Southern Africa (MARTISA) research cluster. His work in the MARTISA research cluster focused on the socio-economic impacts of mining expansion in the mineral-rich rural areas of South Africa and specifically investigated the impacts of the new mining economies on agrarian production and local food security. His research on mining also foregrounded critical questions in relation to equitable access to mining benefits, local land rights, community participation and mineral resource governance in mining-affected communities. At PLAAS Dr Mtero’s current research focuses on land redistribution in South Africa. The main focus in his research is on land reform outcomes and more specifically the extent to which South Africa’s redistributive land reform has been pro-poor. More broadly, his research raises critical questions on the role of land redistribution as a mechanism for social transformation in South Africa.

Research Focus

Land and agrarian reform, agro-food systems, rural livelihoods and agrarian change, social differentiation, poverty and inequality


  • PhD, University of Western Cape, 2015, De-agrarianisation, Livelihoods Diversification and Social Differentiation in Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • BSocSci Hons, MSocSci (Rhodes)
  • BSocSci (Fort Hare)

Selected Publications

  • Cousins Ben, Alex Dubb, Donna Hornby & Farai Mtero, 2018. “Social reproduction of ‘classes of labour’ in the rural areas of South Africa: Contradictions and contestations”, Journal of Peasant Studies, 45:5-6, 1060-1085.
  • Mtero Farai, 2017. Rural livelihoods, large-scale mining and agrarian change in Mapela, Limpopo, South Africa. Resources Policy, 53:190-200 []
  • Lawry Steven, Cyrus Samii, Ruth Hall, Aaron Leopold, Donna Hornby & Farai Mtero (2017) The impact of land property rights interventions on investment and agricultural productivity in developing countries: A systematic review, Journal of Development Effectiveness, 9:1, 61-81 [DOI: 10.1080/19439342.2016.1160947]
  • Mnwana S, Mtero F. and Hay M. (2016) Dispossessing the dispossessed? Mining and rural struggles in Mokopane, Limpopo. Working Paper: 7. Johannesburg: Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Mtero Farai, 2012. Commercialisation, de-agrarianisation & the accumulation/reproduction dynamic: Massive maize production schemes in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Working Paper 23. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape []