The role and the importance of the small and medium-sized businesses, including in agriculture, has been debated over many years and the opinions have varied from complete denial to the solution of all problems. During the last several years policy makers realized that small and medium-sized farming contribute to the vitality of rural areas, significantly affect the use of land resources and play a key role in providing employment, food and social security.
This article examines the role and characteristics of small and medium-sized farms in horticulture and attempts to assess their viability. The study was carried out among 50 fruits producers from four planning regions of Bulgaria. Three clusters were determined using cluster analysis. The first cluster includes small fruit growers with little income earned from farming. The second cluster includes medium-sized farms specializing in fruits production and agriculture as a main source of income for the family. The third cluster includes farms not specialized in fruit production. Small and medium-sized farms need special attention in order to make a larger contribution to the stabilization of the local and national economies and the horticultural sector.