The paper presents findings of a field study undertaken in May 1999 in the Greek Crete Island of Greece Crete. The objectives of the study were to explore how agricultural activities and the livelihood systems of small farmers have been were modified in the face of major changes brought about by with the growing importance development of tourism and the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. The study also assessed farmers' views on and experience with, organic farming as a potentially viable alternative livelihood strategy. The study used participatory research methods tools in order to investigate changes in livelihood systems, farmers' views on organic farming and to study the impact of the institutions that related to agriculture. In the study area, it was learned that agriculture was becoming increasingly a part-time occupation as farmers endeavoured to diversify their livelihood systems through increased engagement in the service sector, particularly during the tourist season. The extended family links were being used to diversify and modify agricultural activities to fit with the activities in the service sector. By this means, farmers were able to inter linking agriculture to the service sector farmers diversify their livelihood systems and add value to their products. Though both conventional and organic farmers agreed on the major problem that they faced, they differed widely in their perceptions about organic farming as a viable future option. It was also learnt that there existed gaps among institutions interested in agriculture in the study area. It is suggested that further open and interactive studies are necessary to fill in such gaps and to better help farmers more effectively, particularly in addressing marketing problems, and to examine the potential future for organic farming.


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