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An appropriate breeding strategy for resistance to bean stem maggot (Ophiomya sp.) in common bean in Zimbabwe 

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Ms Shylet Tsekenedza

KT PhD Scholar

PhD, Plant Breeding, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2023- 2026.

Supervisors: Professor Hussein Shimelis (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Dr Wilson Nkhata (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Dr Clare Mukankusi (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT).

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Ms Shylet Tsekenedza


The bean fly (Ophiomya sp.), also known as bean stem maggot, as is one of the most important field pest of common bean in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). Three species have been reported as important pests: Ophiomyia spencerella, O. phaseoli, and O. centrosematis. Their prevalence is dependent on altitude, with O. phaseoli and O. spencerella being dominant in the lower and high altitudes respectively. Yield loss due to bean fly in common bean is poorly documented, although it is reported to range between 10-100%. The extent of yield loss depends on the  species, timing and level of infestation, susceptibility of the bean cultivars, as well as environmental factors such as humidity, temperature and rainfall.

Recommended control methods include the application of chemical pesticides, however prolonged use of chemical pesticides poses health and environmental hazards and is an additional expense to farmers. Early planting, use of fertilizers and intercropping are some of the cultural practices to control the bean fly. However, the success of cultural control methods can be low under heavy insect pest pressure. Incorporating host resistance to common bean cultivars would be an effective, reliable and environment friendly method to control bean stem maggot. 



  1. To validate existing screening protocols to identify sources of resistance to bean stem maggot.

  2. To identify genomic regions and candidate genes linked to resistance to bean stem maggot in common bean. 

  3. To investigate the inheritance mechanism of resistance to bean stem maggots and to identify molecular markers linked to the resistance in common bean germplasm.








Common bean varieties to be tested for resistance to bean stem maggot (i); planting for seed multiplication (ii); common bean plants at flowering stage(iii); harvesting (iv).

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