Prior the Portuguese Discoveries, other species of the «rice» already existed in Africa and America, some of which are still grown today, although in limited areas. «Indian rice» came originally from the Orient, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today it is still the staple of many Oriental peoples; for them, rice is the most important cereal, in the same way that wheat is in temperate climates. White or Asian rice was already known in Mediterranean region before the Discoveries. The Santa Cruz Papers states that in Moluccas rice «surge from the hills with no more effort than cleaning the land, sowing and harvesting».
Valentim Fernandes, writing at the end of the fifth century, notes that on the hillside of Guinea at that time, «rice is twice sown and twice harvested», which would have been produced using an African species of rice. Pêro Vaz de Caminha, referring to Brazil, also observed that «some of us made for a settlement some three miles from the sea and brought back from there parrots and a root called inhame, which is the bread used there, and some rice». It is thought that rice was bought from Portugal to the islands of Cape Verde, and from there to Brazil, but it may well have come from Orient via Cape Verde. We will never know.
The Portuguese people didn't discover rice, but helped it spread throughout the world.