The World Bank says it is boosting its efforts to fight the global food crisis by providing an extra $1.2 billion in grants and loans.

The announcement Thursday says the aid includes $200 million in grants to help vulnerable people in the poorest nations.

The poverty-fighting agency also says it is raising its support for agriculture and food aid next year by $2 billion to a total of $6 billion.

The increase means agricultural lending in Africa will almost double to $800 million, and Latin America will also get a major boost.

Earlier, a report from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said high food prices may continue for years.

The report says grain and other food costs may move downward from recent record-highs, but are not likely to reach their previous low levels any time soon.

The report, which was jointly published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, says 862 million people already suffer from hunger, and high prices make the situation worse.

The report urges food-producing nations to stop limiting exports, and says developed countries should reexamine policies that shift food crops to biofuel production.

The FAO says farmers in poor nations need help getting seeds, fertilizer, animal feed, and other materials. It also urges more investment in agriculture and rural infrastructure to stimulate productivity.

The report was released ahead of a global conference on food problems scheduled for next week in Rome.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.