Small farms play a significant role in the rural regions of the European Union. They contribute to food security, create and foster biodiversity and provide local employment. In Bulgaria, the agricultural structure is dominated by small farms, which represent more than 86% of all holdings. The aim of the study is to outline the main trends and changes in Bulgarian small holdings for period 2010-2016 and to highlight the future prospects and opportunities after 2020. In the study are applied comparative, historical and logical methods of analysis. The results indicate that the share of small holdings in the utilized agricultural area and generated standard output is declining. On the other hand, they concentrate the highest share of the agricultural labour force and remain mostly family business. Although the current schemes under Pillar 1 provide financial support for small holdings, some of the measures are ineffective and unequal. Some of the schemes of the CAP post 2020 should be revised in order to become more effective, fairer and better orienteered.
Keywords: rural development, financial support, sustainability