Determinants for the viability of small-scale family farms in Serbia: an example of the use of a multi-criteria assessment tool
Agriculture is a pillar of Serbia’s economic development. Consequently, this paper provides an overview and analysis of the status of farms in Serbia, with a special focus on finding factors influencing the sustainable development of small-scale family farms. To facilitate simpler and more precise problem-solving and decision-making processes for improving the farms’ operations, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model is used in this paper. This model is applied to the selection of key economic determinants for small farms’ viability, illustrated through the results of the authors’ own survey of 550 small farms in Serbia, which refers to the economic, social and environmental aspects of small farms’ operation. By applying the criteria for selecting key economic indicators of a small farm, the multi-criteria assessment results can be utilised to inform more effective business and policy decisions directed at improving the operation of small-scale family farms. The survey results show that the best-ranked determinants for the viability of small farms in Serbia are first, the price of agricultural products, and next, wellstructured agricultural product distribution channels.