Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)

Founded in 1995 at the University of the Western Cape, in Cape Town, South Africa, PLAAS has developed a proven track record of high-quality research on land reform, poverty and natural resource management in the Southern African region. PLAAS also undertakes training, provides advisory, facilitation and evaluation services and is active in the field of national policy development. http://www.plaas.org.za/

Library Articles

Changing Agro-Food Systems The Impact of Big Agro-Investors on Food Rights Case Studies in Mozambique and Zambia / Sistemas agroalimentares em mutação

" This book presents case studies on changing agro-food systems in Southern Africa within the context of large-scale land-based and agri-business investments. By capturing the testimonies of local people in rural settings, with a particular focus on small-scale farmers, it aims to provide vivid accounts of the micro-level changes underway in agro-food systems in Southern Africa, and to...

'What is the Value of the Constitution?' Value Chains, Livelihoods and Food Security in SA's Large and Small Scale Fisheries

"This paper seeks to assess the state of knowledge in relation to the interrelated subjects of value chains, livelihoods, food systems, and regulatory dynamics in South Africa’s large-­ and small-­scale fisheries. South Africa’s marine fisheries play an important role in sustaining the livelihoods and food security of poorer coastal communities. However, the post-­apartheid fisheries...

Going Nowhere Fast? Changed Working Conditions on Western Cape Fruit and Wine Farms A State of Knowledge Review

"This state of the knowledge review sets out to identify the main research themes and findings in the literature on labour relations and conditions on Western Cape fruit farms over the past 20 years. The paper also compares if and how farmworker livelihoods have changed since the heyday of Apartheid, and the role of the state in these changes. While farmworkers enjoy vastly more legal...

Informal Sector's Role in Food Security A Missing Link in Policy Debates

"This paper aims to review what is currently known about the role played by the informal sector in general and informal retailers in particular, in the accessibility of food in South Africa. The review seeks to identify policy relevant research gaps. Drawing on Statistics South Africa data, we show that the informal sector is an important source of employment, dominated by informal trade...

Lusaka's Local Food Geographies A Gendered Reading of Every Day Food Insecurity in Mtendere, Lusaka

"Little is known about how individual abilities and food security determinants - at the scale of everyday life - connect to formal and informal value chains, and broader urban structural systems in which daily processes are embedded. Structural inequalities in urban systems make it difficult to translate economic development into improved food security at different city, household or...

Local Food Geographies The Nature and Extent of Food Insecurity in South Africa

"Food insecurity is a challenge for most countries in the Global South. South Africa is no exception - a significant proportion of its population still remains in poverty and is therefore vulnerable to food insecurity. This paper argues that although South Africa is food secure at national level, such security is only true of caloric and not nutrient requirements. A section of the country...

Understanding South African Food and Agricultural Policy Implications for Agri-Food Value Chains, Regulation and Formal and Informal Livelihoods

"In order to create credibility and sustainability between policies, to avoid political confusion and to reassure “investor confidence”, a clear agri-food policy package needs to be in place. To achieve this, policy packages should be constructed to give coherence, with an explicit goal and set of objectives, underscoring accountability to delivery. Considering current policy debates, the...

Deflating the Fallacy of Food Deserts Local Food Geographies in Orange Farm and Inner City Johannesburg

"The availability and accessibility of food is constrained by the environments where people live, work and purchase goods, and the pathways which they use to traverse these. This recognition has given rise to innovative conceptual frameworks including “food environments” and “food deserts”. These concepts add a spatial dimension to food security research that could inform food systems...

Saving Africa's Vanishing Wildlife: How Civil Society can Help Turn the Tide

"Conservation in Africa is failing. An upsurge in poaching and wildlife trafficking has made headlines, but comparatively little attention has been paid to the wider, systematic decline of many large mammal populations across large areas.1 There are many underlying drivers of this decline, but poor wildlife governance is a common, critical factor.2 Strong local and national civil society...

Foodways of the Poor in South Africa How Value-Chain Consolidation, Poverty and Cultures of Consumption Feed Each Other

"South African food systems are in a dynamic process of transition due to changes in food value chain regimes which have major impacts on the poor. However, these transitions are also shaped by demandside drivers emerging from the 'foodways of the poor' - the ways poor people access food, what kinds of food they purchase, how they are consumed, and the culturally-conditioned...

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