A mystery Corona Virus like kiwifruit disease is sweeping through Italian kiwifruit crops and leaving scientists baffled. The disease, which growers call moria or die-off, begins in the roots of kiwifruit vines, which blacken and rot. The leaves then wither and drop, leaving fruit exposed to the sun, and the vines dry up and die within two years. The Guardian newspaper says the disease broke out near Verona in 2012 and has affected up to 84 per cent of vines in some places. Zespri head of global science innovation, Dr Juliet Ansell, says they’re monitoring the situation overseas closely. Genomics researcher Gianni Tacconi, from Italy’s Council for Agricultural Research, says it is like the coronavirus and when symptoms appear, it’s already too late. New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry was hit hard by Psa in 2010 which is estimated to have cost $885 million in damage and lost production. Italy is the world’s second-largest kiwifruit producer, growing more than NZ at 555,000 tonnes in 2019 whereas New Zealand produced 437,000 tonnes. China grew a whopping 2.1 million tonnes of the fruit.