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Screening for resistance to aphid in local cultivated
cowpea varieties for a marker-assisted breeding programme in Botswana

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The BUAN/ NARDI cowpea improvement team. Left to right, back row: Ms Marang Mosupiemang, Prof Samodimo Ngwako; Dr Motlalepula Sethunya Tait (PI); Dr Lekgari Lekgari (Co-PI); Prof Bamphithi Tiroesele. Front row, left to right: Dr Tiny Motlhaodi; Ms Galalea Gaonosi; Mr Boisy Tshegofatso; and Ms Nametso Nkane.



Cowpea is the most economic crop in African countries. However,  production is impacted by its vulnerability to biotic stress such as aphids (Aphis craccivora Koch). Development of resistant cultivars is of paramount importance in cowpea production. Previous studies have identified aphid resistance in two Botswana accessions: B261-B and B383, however, the genetic basis of this resistance is unknown. This study also aims to establish whether cowpea varieties known to be resistant to aphids in other countries are also so in Botswana. This pilot projects sets to establish the foundations for a marker assisted cowpea breeding programme at BUAN.


  1. To phenotypically and genotypically evaluate and confirm local cowpea accessions for aphid resistance.

  2. To introgress aphid resistance from the aphid resistant accessions into localaphid susceptible cowpea commercial varieties.

  3. To phenotypically and genotypically evaluate the F2 segregating population for aphid resistance.

  4. To building capacity and establish research collaborations for the cowpea crop improvement programme.



Dr Motlalepula Sethunya Tait

Principal Investigator (PI) Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), Botswana.

Dr Tait holds a PhD in Plant Biotechnology from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

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Dr Lekgari Lekgari

Co-PI, National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NARDI), Botswana.

Dr Lekgari is Chief Research Scientist at NARDI on plant breeding and genetics. He holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, USA.

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Dr Tiny Motlhaodi

Research Associate, Biodiversity, NARDI

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Prof Samodimo Ngwako

Breeding and Agronomy, BUAN


Prof Bamphithi Tiroesele

Research Associate, Entomology, BUAN

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Mr Boisy Tshegofatso

Technician, Entomology BUAN

Ms Marang Mosupiemeng.jpg

Ms Marang Mosupiemang

Research Assistant, BUAN

Ms Nametso Nkane.jpg

Ms Nametso Nkane

Research Assistant, BUAN

Ms Galalea Gaonosi.jpg

Ms Galalea Gaonosi

MSc student, Crop Protection, BUAN


Location of Research Station, BUAN Botswana

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